The summer has flown by and a lot of changes have happened over the summer! I'll use a bit of the evaporating summer time before the semester hits (!!) to give some impressions of our summer.
Through most of the summer, our crew has consisted of three rising Junior undergraduates - Landon Bradshaw, Sean Jones, and Tommy Mehaffey. All three were part of the lab during the Spring 2021 semester and were able to continue over the summer through funding provided by the Wake Forest URECA Program and Merit Scholars Program. Thank you to Wake Forest University for providing funding opportunities!!
Everyone worked on distinct projects while we continued to get the animal facility running smoothly and establish techniques in the lab. The students embraced organizing the lab and animal facility, which is definitely the love language of any new PI. We occasionally had some help from a diminutive equipment consultant.
We weren't the only organisms to enjoy some delicious treats! It was fantastic to see animals breeding, growing, eating, and generally thriving in a facility that didn't exist a few months ago!
The axolotls love blackworms a bit too much
Very honored to be interviewed for the ISSCR monthly member spotlight in December! It was fun to think about why I enjoy being a member of the ISSCR, what got me into research (here's a teaser - computer repair), random things I know (aka what you might not know about me), and the current topics in regeneration and stem cell biology that really excite me.
I'm a bit behind, but I wanted to highlight this great article that I was fortunate enough to contribute to in Knowable Magazine. Dr. Amber Dance, the journalist, who authored the piece, did an incredible job describing the regeneration process and synthesizing where the field currently is. There are also great segments from other folks in the limb regeneration field. I had a blast talking with Amber and being able to show off some of our images/movies (see below)! Give it a read and do check out the entire issue, entitled "Building Bodies." It's really some phenomenal science communication on big questions in regeneration and developmental biology.
Excited to talk about our new manuscript now on BioRxiv about injury responsive cells in the adult mouse skin! A great collaboration with Tatiana Sandoval-Guzmán of CRTD, Dresden. I've summarized the main points in the infographic below. Check it out!
Excited to see our new review entitled "The journey of cells through regeneration" is now online at Current Opinion in Cell Biology. This was a collaborative work with my colleague Tatiana Sandoval-Guzmán from the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden. What can cutting-edge regenerative therapies learn from examples of in vivo animal regeneration? We believe that the key is understanding the unique phases of regeneration and how cells experience them in space and time to rebuild lost structures.
This was really a lot of fun to write. In addition to all the great ideas that came up in the course of putting this together, creating the figures was a new and awesome experience. I drew the figures by hand with pencil/paper and then digitized them. Then Tatiana and I colored them digitally with watercolor brushes in Illustrator. I'm pretty proud of the result!
Be sure to check out other reviews in that issue of Current Opinion for some great topics in cell differentiation, regeneration, and disease!
Happy to announce that our group is launching with an awarded Discovery Grant from Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada! This grant will provide five years of funding to investigate how the regenerative blastema is organized to rebuild lost limb structures. Many thanks to U of T colleagues for their helpful feedback and the review panels and external reviewers for their work and comments!