Pigment patterns are stunningly diverse. We aim to understand genes and cell behaviors underlying pattern formation, and how differentiation and morphogenesis evolve to generate species differences. We use zebrafish and its relatives, with recent work on interactions among pigment cell classes (and macrophages), long range signaling, and evolution of morphogenetic programs.




Neural crest derived stem cells have critical roles in development and homeostasis. We study genetic, cellular and endocrine mechanisms underlying establishment, maintenance and recruitment of these cells to particular lineages. On-going projects focus on normal development, regeneration, melanoma, and roles for thyroid hormone in specifying cell fate and morphogenesis.



Biologists still know remarkably little about why  organisms look the way they do. To better understand the mechanistic bases for adult form and how it evolves, we use the zebrafish larval-to-adult transformation. We published a normal table of postembryonic development and current efforts focus on  scale morphogenesis and patterning as well as controls of developmental progression.




Selected research

  • Spiewak JE, Bain EJ, Liu J, Kou K, Patterson LB, Kou K§, Sturiale SL§, Diba P, Eisen JS, Braasch I, Ganz J, Parichy DM. Evolution of endothelin signaling and diversification of adult pigment pattern in Danio fishes. PLoS Genetics 24:e1007538.    WEB
  • Aman AJ, Fulbright AN, Parichy DM. 2018. Wnt/β-catenin regulates an ancient signaling network during zebrafish scale development. eLife 10.7554/eLife.37001.   PDF   WEB
  • Eom DS, Parichy DM. 2017. A macrophage relay for long distance signaling during post-embryonic tissue remodeling. Science 355:1317–1320.   PDF   VIDEOS (115 Mb zip)   WEB
  • Eom DS, Bain EJ, Patterson LB, Grout ME, Parichy DM. 2015. Long-distance communication by specialized cellular projections during pigment pattern development and evolution. eLife 10.7554/eLife.12401.   PDF   VIDEOS (65 Mb zip)   WEB
  • McMenamin SK, Bain EJ, McCann AE, Patterson LB, Eom DS, Waller ZP, Hamill JC, Kuhlman JA, Eisen JS, Parichy DM. 2014. Thyroid hormone-dependent adult pigment cell lineage and pattern in zebrafish. Science 345:1358–1361.   PDF   WEB
  • Patterson LB, Bain EJ, Parichy DM. 2014. Pigment cell interactions and differential xanthophore recruitment underlying zebrafish stripe reiteration and Danio pattern evolution. Nature Communications 5:6299.   PDF   WEB
  • Patterson LB, Parichy DM. 2013. Interactions with iridophores and the tissue environment required for patterning melanophores and xanthophores during zebrafish adult pigment stripe formation. PLoS Genetics 9:e100356.    PDF   WEB
  • Budi EH, Patterson LB, Parichy DM. 2011. Post-embryonic nerve-associated precursors to adult pigment cells: genetic requirements and dynamics of morphogenesis and differentiation. PLoS Genetics 7:e1002044.    PDF   WEB
  • Parichy DM, Elizondo MR, Mills MG, Gordon TN, Engeszer RE. 2009. Normal table of post-embryonic zebrafish development: staging by externally visible anatomy of the living fish. Developmental Dynamics 238:2975–3015.   PDF   WEB
  • Engeszer RE, Wang G, Ryan MJ, Parichy DM. 2008. Sex-specific perceptual space for a vertebrate basal social aggregative behavior. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105:929–933.   PDF   WEB
  • Budi EH, Patterson LB, Parichy DM. 2008. Embryonic requirements for Erbb signaling in neural crest development and adult pigment pattern formation. Development 135:2603–2614.  PDF   WEB

Selected reviews

  • McMenamin SK, Chandless MN, Parichy DM. 2016. Chapter 18. Working with post-embryonic zebrafish. Methods in Cell Biology: The Zebrafish: Cellular and Developmental Biology Part B, 4th Edition 134:587–607. PDF
  • Parichy DM. 2015. Advancing biology through a deeper understanding of zebrafish ecology and evolution. eLife 4:05636.   PDF   WEB

Dave Parichy, PI

(   CV  — email )

Abhishek Mishra


Dane Sessions

MSTP student

Andy Aman


Nivedita Mishra


Amber Schwindling

aquatics technician

Braedan McCluskey


Emily Bain

grad student

Samantha Sturiale

undergrad researcher

Dylan Huang


Lauren Saunders

grad student

Joe Pizzuti

undergrad researcher

Xue Tian

visiting scholar

Vic Lewis

grad student

Danni Martin

undergrad researcher

More about University of Virginia and

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David M. Parichy, Professor



On living in Virginia:

Department of Biology

University of Virginia

Physical and Life Sciences Building

Charlottesville VA 22904






Copyright © 2018 DM Parichy