PhD in Stem Cell Biology, University of Cambridge
B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University
Lizards and salamanders both exhibit the amazing ability to regenerate their tails. However, while the salamander regenerated tail is a perfect copy of the original, the lizard regenerates an “imperfect replicate”. The most striking of these “imperfections” concerns the skeleton, which takes the form of an unsegmented cartilage tube rather than a vertebral column. My project compares skeletal regeneration in lizards (Anolis carolinensis) and salamanders (Ambystoma mexicanum), looking for what they have in common, how they differ, and why they end with such different regenerative outcomes. For example, my research has determined that the lizard and salamander blastemas (the collection of cells that differentiate into the tissue of the regenerated tail) form in very different ways, findings with potential for improving mammalian regeneration.