Hanken slide


A wildtype axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)

Nadine Piekarski
Harvard University
Museum of Comparative Zoology
Department of Herpetology
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Laboratory Telephone: 617-496-4632
Office: 617-384-8437
Fax Number: 617-495-5667

Research Interests

Different aspects of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). Technically, my studies are mainly based on fate mapping experiments using GFP-transgenic axolotls originally developed in Elly Tanaka´s laboratory in Dresden, Germany. My postdoctoral project is to make a long-term fate map of the cranial neural crest to reveal its contributions to the skull in the Mexican axolotl. I will compare my results to earlier studies in Xenopus laevis made by Josh Gross in the Hanken lab, and to other species for which data are available. This comparision should enable us to gain new insights into the evolution of skull development.

In my dissertation (Ph.D.) I made a fate map of the first somites (2-6) using GFP-transgenic axolotls in Lennart Olsson´s lab in Jena, Germany. I determined the contributions of single somites to different muscles and skeletal elements, such as the pectoral girdle. The data obtained were compared to the detailed results available from studies using quail-chick chimeras, and revealed variations and constraints in somite fate.


Nadine Piekarski and Lennart Olsson (2011): A somitic contribution to the pectoral girdle in the axolotl revealed by long-term fate mapping. Evolution & Development, 13:47-57.

Goldschmidt, A., Maier, W., Olsson, L. and Piekarski, N. (2009) Kopf, In: Westheide, W. & Rieger, G. (eds.) Spezielle Zoologie. Teil 2: Wirbel- oder Schädeltiere. Zweite Auflage. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg, Berlin.

Ericsson, R., Ziermann, J.M., Piekarski, N., Schubert, G., Joss, J. and Olsson, L. (2009) Cell fate and timing in the evolution of neural crest and mesoderm development in the head region of amphibians and lungfishes. Acta Zoologica 90 (Suppl. 1): 264-272.

Mitgutsch, C., Piekarski, N., Olsson, L. and Haas, A. (2008) Heterochronic shifts during early cranial neural crest cell migration in two ranid frogs. Acta Zoologica. 89: 69-78.

Piekarski, N. and Olsson, L. (2007) Muscular derivatives of the cranialmost somites revealed by long-term somite fate mapping in the Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum). Evolution and Development. 9: 566-578.

Copyright 1996 James Hanken