Jessica Whited is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital. She developed a fascination with the natural world at a young age growing up in Michigan and Missouri. Jessica earned a BA in Philosophy and a BS in Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri. In her graduate studies at MIT, she pursued questions of pattern development and maintenance in the Drosophila nervous system in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Garrity. These investigations led Jessica to consider mechanisms that animals use to ensure body plans are preserved following injury, and she has since worked to understand how axolotl salamanders regenerate entire limbs following amputation. While a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Cliff Tabin’s lab at Harvard Medical School, Jessica developed molecular tools for interrogating this system more deeply, and she established a breeding colony of axolotls at HMS. Jessica’s laboratory is now using these tools, combined with new gene expression data, to elucidate molecular and cellular principles underlying vertebrate limb regeneration with the hopes that this knowledge will shed light on the more limited regenerative responses in humans. Jessica is the recipient of the NIH New Innovator Award, the March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Award, and the Smith Family Foundation Excellence in Biomedical Research Award.
(Biography as of September 2018)