Unlocking our inner salamander: The path from scarring to perfect regeneration

Joshua Currie, Ph.D.
Center for Regenerative Therapies, Dresden, Germany
Monday, June 19, 2017 - 1:00pm
Ramsay Wright Building, Room 432
Special Seminar
I am fascinated by how injury is resolved. What are the molecular and cellular events that occur after injury and how do these events lead to either perfect regeneration or imperfect scar-formation? In mammals like humans and mice, injury is most often resolved by the formation of a fibrotic scar. This stands in stark contrast to animals such as the Mexican axolotl, where amputation of the limb culminates in the restoration of patterned tissue and skeleton. Using high-resolution live imaging and ex vivo analysis I answered several longstanding questions as to how axolotls can create, de novo, a progenitor mass to perfectly reconstitute lost tissue. Specifically, I found 1) which cells regenerate lost skeleton and connective tissue, 2) the spatial and temporal requirements for cells to be able to pattern regenerating tissue, and 3) a molecular signal that is essential to recruit progenitor-forming cells into the regenerate. In parallel to my work in the axolotl, I have also set up transgenic mouse models, which also form fibrotic scar to resolve injury, to identify molecular mechanisms that underlie differences to axolotl wound repair (manuscript in preparation). Ultimately I will use these models as a foundation for translational applications to improve wound healing.
Prof. Vince Tropepe
Dept of Cell and Systems Biology