Katrina Adams Gallagher Assistant Professor

Development and Regeneration of the Mammalian Brain
Katrina Adams

Research Interests

Neurological diseases are among the most debilitating medical conditions, affecting millions of people worldwide. Demyelination – damage and loss of the myelin sheaths surrounding axons – occurs in a large variety of central nervous system insults, pathologies, and neurodegenerative diseases, including Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This damage is repaired by endogenous mechanisms to a certain extent, but ultimately fails in human patients, leading to progressive disease and worsening symptoms. We ask how different populations of neural stem and glial progenitor cells within the mammalian brain respond to injury and disease. Can we promote better recovery from neurological diseases by enhancing the regenerative response of these cells?

During development, neural stem cells generate all neurons in the brain and spinal cord, as well as astrocytes and oligodendrocytes – glial cells that play critical roles in the correct formation and functioning of the nervous system. Our lab investigates signaling pathways that regulate the development of neural stem cells and oligodendrocytes, as many developmental signaling pathways are reactivated in the adult nervous system following injury or disease. In addition, we are interested in understanding the heterogeneity of glial cells, and whether they exhibit distinct functional properties in the healthy brain, as well as the injured brain.

In addition, we use mouse models of demyelination to model Multiple Sclerosis to better understand the molecular pathways that control endogenous regeneration. We complement these studies with analysis of human tissue samples to identify conserved pathways that may represent potential therapeutic targets for promoting regeneration. By combining these studies with a variety of tools, including advanced mouse genetics, primary and stem cell culture, and single cell transcriptomics, our lab investigates the molecular mechanisms regulating brain development and regeneration.


  • Gallagher Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, IN, 2023
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Neuroscience Research, Children’s Research Institute, Children’s National Hospital, Washington D.C., 2015-2022
  • PhD, Molecular Biology, University of California Los Angeles, CA, 2014
  • B.S., Biochemistry and Cell Biology, University of California San Diego, CA, 2008

Selected Publications 

  • Jablonska B*, Adams KL*, Kratimenos P, Li Z, Strickland E, Haydar TF, Kusch K, Nave KA, and Gallo V. Sirt2 promotes white matter oligodendrogenesis during development and in models of neonatal hypoxia. Nature Communications (In press). *authors contributed equally.
  • Adams KL, Dahl KD, Gallo V, and Macklin WB. Intrinsic and extrinsic regulators of oligodendrocyte progenitor proliferation and differentiation. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 116, 16-24 (2021).
  • Adams KL, Riparini G, Banerjee P, Breur M, Bugiani M, and Gallo V. Endothelin-1 signaling maintains glial progenitor proliferation in the postnatal subventricular zone. Nature Communications 11, 2138 (2020).
  • Forbes TA*, Goldstein EZ*, Dupree JL, Jablonska B, Scafidi J, Adams KL, Imamura Y, Hashimoto-Torii K, and Gallo V. Environmental enrichment ameliorates perinatal brain injury and promotes functional white matter recovery. Nature Communications 11, 964 (2020). *authors contributed equally.
  • Adams KL and Gallo V. The diversity and disparity of the glial scar. Nature Neuroscience 21, 9-15 (2018).
  • Adams KL, Rousso DL, Umbach JA, and Novitch BG. Foxp1-mediated programming of limb-innervating motor neurons from mouse and human embryonic stem cells. Nature Communications 6, 6778 (2015).
  • Umbach JA, Adams KL, Gunderson CB, and Novitch BG. Functional neuromuscular junctions formed by embryonic stem cell-derived motor neurons. PLoS One 7, e36049 (2012).


View all of Publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/1ji_ct6idbF52/bibliography/public/