Jeff Biernaskie

Associate Professor

Comparative Biology & Experimental Medicine, Surgery

Full Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Contact information


Office : HMRB402

Preferred method of communication

Administrative Assistant: 
Stephanie Hawes

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Spinal Cord / Nerve Injury & Pain

Research activities

The general interest of my lab is in tissue regeneration and the role of endogenous stem cells in mediating this process. Although the developing embryo and even neonatal mammals exhibit remarkable tissue regeneration, this capacity is rapidly lost with age. One exception to this is the hair follicle, which is uniquely able to regenerate itself, and do so without formation of scar tissue (much like embryonic tissues). This capacity is dependent on the presence of multiple stem cell populations that interact to rebuild the hair follicle.  We are specifically interested in a multipotent stem cell that resides in the dermal component of follicles. We believe these cells function to initiate hair follicle regeneration and may also contribute to maintenance and repair of the skin throughout life. Our goal is to understand how these adult stem cells are maintained within their specialized hair follicle micro-environment (or ‘niche’) and how they contribute to normal regeneration of the follicle and following skin injury. We hope that by understanding how resident stem cells are regulated in adult tissues we will then be able to exploit these precursors and enhance the body’s natural mechanisms of repair/regeneration following injury or disease.

A secondary interest of the lab is in understanding mechanisms regulating fate commitment in the developing peripheral nervous system, and how developmental ‘plasticity’ might be recapitulated in adulthood to improve regeneration following injury.  We utilize transgenic mice, primary cell and tissue culture, and in vivo transplantation techniques to study these processes