Molecular and cellular characterization of regenerating limbs.

Paola Oliveri (primary)
Geraint Thomas (secondary)


Many animals routinely regenerate entire complex body parts, while others only reform a few tissues. We aim to understand the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling regeneration. Echinoderms (sea stars and brittle stars) occupy a key position in animal evolution and phylogeny and efficiently regenerate large parts of their body including muscles, nervous systems and whole limbs. The aim of this project is to build upon the successful genetic characterization of adult arm regeneration in Amphiura filiformis to characterize the roles of specific cell types, biomolecules and signaling pathways in these processes by combining single cell sequencing, genetic manipulation and Raman microscopy. We will reveal key mechanisms of the regeneration process that can eventually be translated into regenerative animal and human medicine.


1 Czarkwiani A, Ferrario C, Dylus DV, Sugni M, Oliveri P. Skeletal regeneration in the brittle star Amphiura filiformis. Front Zool. 2016 Apr 22;13:18. doi:10.1186/s12983-016-0149-x.
2 Czarkwiani A, Dylus DV, Oliveri P. Expression of skeletogenic genes during arm regeneration in the brittle star Amphiura filiformis. Gene Expr Patterns. 2013 Dec;13(8):464-72. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2013.09.002.
3 Dylus DV, Czarkwiani A, Blowes LM, Elphick MR, Oliveri P. Developmental transcriptomics of the brittle star Amphiura filiformis reveals gene regulatory network rewiring in echinoderm larval skeleton evolution. Genome Biol. 2018 Feb 28;19(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s13059-018-1402-8.
4 Gaifulina R, Maher AT, Kendall C, Nelson J, Rodriguez-Justo M, Lau K, Thomas GM. Label-free Raman spectroscopic imaging to extract morphological and chemical information from a formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded rat colon tissue section. Int J Exp Pathol. 2016 Aug;97(4):337-350. doi: 10.1111/iep.12194.
5 Lewis AT, Gaifulina R, Guppy NJ, Isabelle M, Dorney J, Lloyd GR, Rodriguez-Justo M, Kendall C, Stone N, Thomas GM. Developing Raman spectroscopy as a diagnostic tool for label-free antigen detection. J Biophotonics. 2018 Feb;11(2). doi: 10.1002/jbio.201700028.

Animal disease, health and welfareGenes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BioinformaticsImage ProcessingMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologyMolecular Biology