I am currently a PhD student in the Lowe Lab at the Hopkin’s Marine Station.
The lab is interested in the evolution of body plans, particularly the early evolution of deuterostomes and the origin of our own phylum, the chordates. Descriptive and functional techniques are used to study the development of hemichordates and a range of echinoderm and cnidarian species.
My current work involves studying an indirect developing enteropneust hemichordate worm Schizocardium californicum with impressive regenerative capability and radical metamorphosis between larva and adult that provides a valuable opportunity for investigating remodeling and patterning during metamorphosis and regeneration.
Preliminary data recently generated reveals distinct proliferation during regeneration in S. californicum. EdU, a marker for cell proliferation, allows us to directly measure active DNA synthesis.
I am also interested in animals in the phylum Echinodermata which contains a diversity of organisms in which regeneration is common and occurs both in external parts and in internal organs. A final group with striking regenerative capacity would be the brittle stars, which can completely regenerate their arms post autotomy in just few weeks.
A personal goal is to emphasize the importance of exploration of biodiversity, and that even in a strange group of animals such as the echinoderms, conservation and preservation play an important role in advancing fundamental cell biology research.