2013 New Initiative Grant
Veronica Hinman, Ph.D. (PI) Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University
Jonathan Minden, Ph.D. (co-PI) Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University
Bruce Alan Armitage, Ph.D. (co-PI) Professor, Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University
Danith H. Ly, Ph.D. (co-PI) Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University
Developing a Sea Star Model for Regenerative Biology
Humans have little capacity to regenerate. However, human tissues could potentially be reengineered if the mechanisms controlling this process in animals that do regenerate were well enough understood. Unfortunately the genetically tractable organisms, e.g. Drosophila and C.elegans, that have driven much of our knowledge of development have little regenerative capacity. Regenerative biology thus remains highly unexplored. While vertebrate animals and humans in particular have generally poor regenerative capabilities, members of their closest invertebrate phylum, sea stars, have extraordinary abilities to regenerate. The sea star larva is a newly emerged model system for understanding the regulatory mechanisms of cell specification during early development. This proposal will be capitalize on and extend this knowledge to take advantage of the inherent biology of this organism to develop it as model system for understanding cell specification during regeneration. In this proposal we will profile the changes in gene expression and protein modification during early regeneration and begin to build gene regulatory network models of this process. An integral component of this proposal is also to develop enhanced tools for manipulating gene function and analyzing gene expression in regenerating larvae. These tools are also likely to be widely useful for any developmental model system.