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SIM: New Investigator Lecture with Andrea Wills, Ph.D.
October 18 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
“Decoding the molecular requirements for complex tissue regeneration”
A major goal of regenerative medicine is to improve health outcomes for patients that experience traumatic injuries such as limb loss or spinal cord injury by promoting regenerative healing. My group focuses on defining the mechanisms that first couple injury to regeneration rather than scarring. To do this we exploit the stage-specific regenerative competence of the frog Xenopus tropicalis, a genetically and biochemically tractable model that can fully regenerate lost spinal cord or limb tissue early in development, but loses this capability at metamorphosis. This stage-specific regenerative competence affords us a unique opportunity to directly compare regenerative to non-regenerative structures within the context of the same organism. Our work focuses on the proximal molecular responses that initiate regeneration: chromatin remodeling, transcriptional changes, and the mobilization of metabolic resources for tissue growth.