Characterization of Stem Cell Regeneration in Schmidtea Mediterranea



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Animals rely on stem cells to repair tissue damage following disease or injury. In order to study stem cells, Schmidtea mediterranea (planaria) is used as a model organism because of their unique ability to completely regenerate lost tissues through the use of stem cells. Previous studies have focused on how stem cells proliferate in response to injuries with large tissue losses where many cell types need to be regenerated at once. However, in the case of many human injuries or diseases, only one specific cell type is lost. This project aims to characterize how stem cells respond following destruction of specific cell types, particularly if the injury response mechanism is a general proliferative response or a specialized mechanism depending on the cell type lost. Work up to this point has allowed for destruction of pigment cells via light-induced pigment cell loss. Doing so has allowed measurement of proliferation of stem cells following injury through mitotic index calculations and measurement of pigment cells present following injury through in situ hybridization and qPCR. Current works aim to measure the rate at which stem cells and pigment cells regenerate following injury through BrdU Pulse-Chase experiments. Continued research will give insight about the molecular mechanisms behind regeneration following injury or disease involving specific cell types.


Dr. Ryan King, Biology

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biology, stem cells

Characterization of Stem Cell Regeneration in Schmidtea Mediterranea