Regeneration, Environmental Estrogen Analogs Our laboratory is examining wound healing and regeneration in freshwater planarians (flat worms). Planarians have an unparalleled capacity for regeneration: cut a worm in half and you get two worms. Cut a worm in dozens of pieces and you will have dozens individual worms within a few days. Each one of these regenerating fragments produces a complete organism, with sensory organs, a central nervous system, a feeding and digestive system, and all the various other organs and systems that make a complete animal. Somehow, the cells in these fragments determine what’s missing and faithfully reproduce it.
While not quite as plastic as the flat worm, in terms of vertebrate regeneration, the ambystomoid salamanders are peerless. We have recently begun several studies that attempt to correlate processes we see in both the flatworm and the salamander (Axolotls).
There are currently two main lines of inquiry in our lab:
- How do environmental endocrine disruptors affect regeneration?
- What role do hormone pathways play in regeneration?
Opportunities for students
Most of the students who work in our lab are biologists, but we have several collaborations with other departments on campus. We are currently looking for people with backgrounds in any of the following areas: biology, computer science, statistics/math and physics. If you are a currently enrolled or prospective undergraduate or graduate student and have an interest in our work, please contact us about possible research opportunities. There are a variety of ways to set something up including independent studies.