Labib Rouhana, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., 2007, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Post-doctoral Fellow, 2008-2009, Kyoto University
Post-doctoral Fellow, 2009-2013, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Research in my laboratory is centered on the regenerative abilities of planarian flatworms.  Planarians are fascinating organisms capable of regenerating their entire body from small fragments barely visible to the naked eye.  The planarian body relies on a large population of adult somatic stem cells to continuously grow, maintain, and regenerate every part of their body.  This unique characteristic makes planarians a great in vivo model for the study of stem cell biology.

More specifically, our research focuses on the mechanisms involved in regulating gene expression at the messenger RNA level.  My previous work identified RNA-binding and processing factors required for proper maintenance and/or differentiation of planarian stem cells.  Currently, efforts in my laboratory are aimed towards the identification of mRNA targets for such factors.  A related focus of the laboratory is the analysis of conserved networks of post-transcriptional regulation and the molecular characterization of “chromatoid bodies”, large ribonucleoprotein granules in planarian stem cells.  From these efforts, we will gain better understanding of how gene expression is regulated to properly balance between proliferation and differentiation of stem cells.

Recent Publications

Rouhana L*, Weiss JA, King RS, and Newmark PA, (2014).  PIWI homologs mediate histone mRNA localization to planarian chromatoid bodies.  Development. 141(13):2592-601. *Corresponding author.

Rouhana L*, Weiss JA, Forsthoefel DJ, Lee H, King RS, Inoue T, Shibata N, Agata K, Newmark PA. (2013). RNA interference by feeding in vitro synthesized double-stranded RNA to planarians: methodology and dynamics.  Developmental Dynamics.  242(6):718-30.  *corresponding author.

Rouhana L, Vieira AP, Roberts-Galbraith RH, and Newmark PA. (2012).  PRMT5 and the role of symmetrical dimethylarginine in chromatoid bodies of planarian stem cells. Development. Mar;139(6):1083-94

Rouhana L, Shibata N, Nishimura O, and Agata K. (2010).  Different requirements for conserved posttranscriptional regulators in planarian regeneration and stem cell maintenance. Developmental Biology. 341(2):429-43.

Shibata N, Rouhana L, and Agata K. (2010).  Cellular and molecular dissection of pluripotent adult somatic stem cells in planarians. Development Growth Differentiation. 52(1):27-41.