Research Interests

How are adult pluripotent stem cells (aPSCs) made and maintained? As a postdoc in the Srivastava Lab at Harvard University, I am currently embarking on molecular investigation in the acoel worm Hofstenia miamia to study the origin and maintenance of aPSCs. Hofstenia, has been developed as a new model system to address these long-standing questions about regeneration and its embryos are plentiful and accessible at early stages, making it a unique animal model to interrogate the links between development and regeneration.. Hofstenia can regenerate any missing tissue and in the Srivastava Lab, Hofstenia development has been described in detail with a developmental staging series based on morphology, with accompanying transcriptome data. Utilizing a photoconvertible Kaeda line, recent work in the lab has revealed that one pair of blastomeres (3a/3b) gives rise to cells that resemble aPSCs in distribution, behavior, and gene expression. I will use the approaches developed in the Srivastava Lab to launch a comprehensive study of pluripotency in the embryonic stem cell lineage and the maintenance of aPSCs in the adult animal.