Salamanders are rare among vertebrates because they can regenerate large portions of their central nervous system. Click here to read more about this unique phenomenon.
I study several aspects of limb regeneration including pattern formation and the cellular and tissue interactions that are necessary for limb regeneration.
An unanswered problem in regenerative biology is how fundamental traits like age, body size, and metamorphosis influence regenerative ability. Click here to find out how we are addressing this problem using the salamander. Image courtesy of F. Michanneau and A. Seifert.
Retinoic acid is a signaling molecule necessary for animal development and regeneration. Along with Dr. Malcolm Maden, we are trying to identify the role of retinoic acid during these processes.
The Mexican axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum, is an aquatic salamander indigenous to the lakes around Mexico City. Unfortunately, wild axolotls are near extinction due to habitat loss and the introduction of non-native fish species. Today there are likely more axolotls in labs around the world than in their natural habitat, being studied as a model for vertebrate development and regeneration.
My research aims to understand the mechanisms that underlie tissue regeneration. I primarily study the amazing regenerative abilities of the salamander, which are unique among vertebrate animals because they can regenerate large portions of organs including the limb, spinal cord, brain, eye, heart, liver, and skin. Regeneration of these organs is no small feat considering a salamander’s limb can be 4cm long containing bone, muscle, nerves, and skin! The goal of this research is to use the knowledge gained from these remarkable animals to facilitate the discovery or implementation of regenerative medicine therapies.