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John Brubacher

Assistant Professor of Biology

John Brubacher





204.487.3300 x670



John was born and grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, which instilled in him a deep love for good maple syrup and summer sausage, among other things.

John's research interests are in developmental biology and cell biology. He is particularly curious about the development of germ cells—the lineage of cells that divide and mature to become eggs and sperm. Due to their capacity to generate a new individual via fertilization, germ cells are in a sense the ultimate stem cells in sexually reproducing organisms. In most animals, these special cells arise as a distinct lineage very early in embryonic development, and remain distinct from the rest of the body's "somatic" cells. In a group of flatworms known as planarians, however, germ cells can develop "de novo" in adults, from a remarkable set of somatic stem cells known as neoblasts. Thus, planarian worms are an intriguing and readily accessible model system in which to study germ cell origins and development, which John is beginning to explore with the help of some wonderful colleagues at the Morgridge Institute for Research in Madison Wisconsin.

Among John's other academic interests are the interaction between the natural sciences, philosophy and theology, which makes CMU an exciting place for him to be.

When he has time on his hands, John enjoys cycling, canoeing, volleyball, curling, singing, and being entertained by his Senegal parrot.

Areas of Teaching

Introductory Biology, Cell Biology, Genetics


Ph.D. University of Manitoba, 2010; M.Sc. University of Waterloo, 2000; B.Sc. University of Waterloo, 1996

Work in Detail


BIOL 1020 - The Genetic Revolution
BIOL 1310 - Cells and Energy
BIOL 2100 - Genetics of Eukaryotes and Bacteria
BIOL 2200 - Microbiology 1: The Microbial World
BIOL 2300 - Cell Biology
BIOL 3380 - Laboratory Methods in Cell and Molecular Biology
BIOL 3950 - Topics: Case Studies in Toxicology


Recent Publications:

(Here are links to my ORCID and ResearchGate pages, which go back a bit further).

Saberi A, Gulyaeva A, Brubacher Jl, Newmark PA, and Gorbalenya AE (2018) A planarian nidovirus expands the limits of RNA genome size. PLoS Pathogens 14(11): e1007314.

Brubacher JL, Vieira AP, and Azimzadeh J (2018) Processing Schmidtea mediterranea for transmission electron microscopy: classical and microwave techniques. Methods in Molecular Biology 1774: 519-538.

Roberts-Galbraith RH, Brubacher JL, and Newmark PA (2016) A functional genomics screen in planarians reveals regulators of whole-brain regeneration. eLife 5:e17002

Brubacher JL (2016) Biology as a liberal art. In: P. Dyck and H. Huebner, eds. A University of the Church for the World: Essays in Honour of Gerald Gerbrandt. Winnipeg, CMU Press, pp. 141-159.

Brubacher JL, Vieira AP, and Newmark PA. (2014) "Preparation of the planarian worm Schmidtea mediterranea for high-resolution histology and transmission electron microscopy." Nature Protocols 9:661-673.

Chong T, Collins JJ 3rd, Brubacher JL, Zarkower D, and Newmark PA. (2013) "A sex-specific transcription factor controls male identity in a simultaneous hermaphrodite." Nature Communications 4:1814

Brubacher JL and Huebner E. (2011) "Evolution and development of polarized germ cell cysts: new insights from a polychaete worm, Ophryotrocha labronica." Developmental Biology 357: 96-107

Brubacher JL and Huebner E. (2009) "Development of polarized female germline cysts in the polychaete, Ophryotrocha labronica." Journal of Morphology 270: 413-429.


John attends St. Margaret's Anglican Church in Winnipeg. He also sings in the Renaissance Voices, a Winnipeg-based chamber choir.

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