Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Rachel Roberts-Galbraith

Rachel Roberts-Galbraith
Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Assistant Professor

After injury, an organism must mount a series of responses to minimize and — if possible — repair damage.  Some organisms regenerate poorly, while others (including humans) regenerate to differing degrees depending on the tissue that is damaged.  Rarely, organisms possess the ability to repair or regenerate any missing tissue.  Organisms with remarkable regenerative power include planarians, which are flatworms that can regrow missing tissues after a wide range of amputations or injuries.

In our lab, we use planarians to understand how regeneration proceeds successfully in nature.  In particular, we are interested in how a planarian regenerates its central nervous system (CNS), making new neurons and connecting them faithfully again and again.  To understand how planarians successfully regenerate the CNS, we are currently pursuing projects to answer the following questions:

1) What signals promote planarian regeneration, both generally and specifically for the CNS?

2) How do the pluripotent stem cells within the planarian body make the decision(s) to become a neuron?  Does this happen in the same way or in different ways in regeneration and in development/homeostasis?

3) How are new neurons arranged properly in space and how do they make the correct connections with their partners?

4) How are glial cells in the nervous system regenerated?  And what role(s), if any, do they play in the regeneration of the CNS?

planarian and its central nervous system


Roberts-Galbraith RH, Brubacher JL, and Newmark PA. (2016). A functional genomics screen in planarians reveals regulators of whole-brain regeneration.  Elife.  pii: e17002.

Ong TH, Romanova EV, Roberts-Galbraith RH, Yang N, Zimmerman TA, Collins JJ 3rd, Lee JE, Kelleher NL, Newmark PA, and Sweedler JV. (2016). Mass Spectrometry Imaging and Identification of Peptides Associated with Cephalic Ganglia Regeneration in Schmidtea mediterranea. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 291(15):8109-20.

Roberts-Galbraith RH and Newmark PA.  (2015) On the organ trail: insights into organ regeneration in the planarian.  Current Opinion in Genetics and Development.  32:37-46.

Roberts-Galbraith RH and Newmark PA.  (2013) Follistatin antagonizes activin signaling and acts with notum to direct planarian head regeneration.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  110(4):1363-8.    

Other Affiliations:

Support us

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Click here to learn more about giving.

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.

Got More Questions?

Undergraduate Inquiries:

Registration and Credit

AP Credit, Section Changes, Overrides,

Graduate Inquiries:

Contact Us!

Associate Head: 
Dr. Cordula Schulz, 706-542-3515

Main office phone: 706-542-3310
Fax: 706-542-4271

Head of the Department: Dr. Dennis Kyle