Derek van der Kooy

Molecular Genetics


Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research
160 College Street, Room 1102, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5S 3E1
Research Interests
Behaviour and mental illness, Bioinformatics and computational biology, C. elegans, Developmental biology, Disease models, Drosophila, Evolution and phylogenetics, Neurodegeneration and neurodevelopment, Neuroscience, Optogenetics, Imaging and microscopy, Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, Single cell and spatial biology, Stem cell biology

The van der Kooy lab works on various stem cell biology and developmental biology research projects, including stem cells in organisms from Drosophila to humans. We produced the first report of stem cells in the adult mammalian eye. We also have isolated a rare stem cell from the adult mouse and human pancreas that can show extensive proliferation under defined conditions in vitro. Of interest to the lab is the lineage of neural stem cells from pluripotent embryonic stem cells, with relevance to the origin of the earliest neural stem cell in the developing embryo. The lab also studies the neural circuit underlying motivation and demonstrated the neural mechanisms underlying psychoactive drug addiction. Finally, we investigate the genes underlying learning and memory in C. elegans and mice.

Courses taught

  • ROP299Y1/399Y1
  • ANA 498
  • PSL404H1F
  • MGY480Y1
  • MMG1011
  • Molecular Genetics Graduate Topic Course: Stem Cells 1


  • 2021 Fellow, Royal Society of Canada


  • Institute of Medical Science (IMS)
  • Donnelly Centre

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