Center for Neurogeneration
Catherina Becker Group
In a cross section of the adult zebrafish spinal cord, Olig2 expressing progenitor cells (green) can be seen to generate hb9 expressing motor neurons (red). Nuclei are counterstained in blue. MM Reimer et al., J Neurosci. 2008, 28:8510-6.

In a cross section of the brain of an adult 'astray' zebrafish mutant, optic axons (brown) can be seen terminating ectopically in the telencephalon. C Wyatt, A Ebert et al., J Neurosci 2010, in press.

Prof. Catherina G. Becker, PhD, Director
Professor of Neural Development and Regeneration
The Chancellor's Building
49 Little France Crescent
Edinburgh, EH16 4SB
United Kingdom

Telephone/Fax: +44 (0) 131 242 7983


The Becker Group are now inviting applications from interested post-doctoral candidates.

Research in a Nutshell: Zebrafish regeneration

Biographical Profile

    • 2005-Present CNR Director of Postgraduate Training
    • 2005-Present Senior Lecturer, Deanery of Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh
    • 2000-2005 Group Leader, Centre for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg (ZMNH)
    • 1998-2000 Postdoc, Centre for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg (ZMNH)
    • 1996-1998 Postdoc, Dept Dev Cell Biol, University of California, Irvine
    • 1994-1996 Postdoc, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich
    • 1993 PhD Neurobiology with honours, University of Bremen

Research Overview

The Becker group is pursuing 3 main lines of research.


    1. We are investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying successful regeneration of the zebrafish spinal cord, focussing on the activation of spinal-intrinsic progenitor cells by the lesion and lesion induced neurogenesis (Becker and Becker (2015) Neuronal Regeneration from Ependymo-radial Glial Cells: Cook, Little Pot, Cook! Developmental Cell 32(4):516-27), as well as axonal regeneration (Becker and Becker (2014) Axonal Regeneration in Zebrafish. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 27C:186-191).

    2. We are using automated chemical compound screen in zebrafish models of motor neurone diseases, mainly spinal muscular atrophy, to identify targets for therapy. My group a founding member of the SMA UK Research Consortium, funded by the SMA Trust with £1.3m.

    3. We are investigating the molecular factors controlling the development of the spinal locomotor network to identify the fundamental relationship between network and function.

In summary, my research contributes to a better understanding of the factors governing generation of neurons and axonal pathfinding in the CNS during development and regeneration. I use the zebrafish model to identify fundamental mechanisms in vertebrates with clear translational implications for CNS injury and neurodegenerative diseases.


Group Members


Work in the laboratory is currently supported by grants from the BBSRC, the NC3Rs, Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research, MND Scotland, the Wellcome Trust, the MNDA and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.



    • Tom Gillingwater, University of Edinburgh
    • Tilo Kunath, CRM
    • David Lyons, Centre for Neuroregeneration, University of Edinburgh
    • Dirk Sieger, Centre for Neuroregeneration, University of Edinburgh
    • Keith Sillar, University of St. Andrews
    • Kevin Talbot, University of Oxford
    • Will Talbot, Stanford University
    • Anna Williams, Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh
    • Val Wilson, Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh

Selected Recent Publications

Key Earlier Publications

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