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Laboratory of Developmental and Regenerative Biology
Research
Regeneration of
Regeneration of
spinal cord in
Xenopus laevis


Unlike mammals, the Xenopus laevis tadpole has a remarkable regenerative capacity that allows it to regenerate the spinal cord after severe injury. However, as the tadpole metamorphoses into a frog it loses this regenerative capacity. This provides a unique model that has regenerative (tadpole) and non-regenerative (frog) stages, in which we can model spinal cord injury. We study the cellular and molecular mechanisms of spinal cord regeneration, and are interested in identifying the differences between tadpoles and froglets. To address this, we use high-throughput RNA sequencing, cellular transplant, and generation of transgenic animals together with other methods to modify gene expression. This knowledge will be useful in finding new methods to promote spinal cord regeneration in mammalian organisms.
Metamorphosis
Metamorphosis
of Xenopus
laevis


We are interested in how developmental transitions are regulated and how stem/progenitors cells respond to signals in vivo during these processes. Specifically, we are studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the activation and proliferation of neural stem/progenitors cells in the spinal cord during Xenopus laevis metamorphosis. This project includes the study of the effect of thyroid hormone and the role of miRNAs in neural stem/progenitor cells.
Nervous System
Nervous System
Development and
Wnt signaling


The Wnt signaling pathway is involved in relevant physiological events, such as nervous system development, regeneration and stem cell homeostasis. In our laboratory, we are interested in the study of the role of the Wnt pathway in neural tube development and the function of Syndecan-4 and Vangl2 in the regulation of canonical and non-canonical Wnt signaling in Xenopus and mice. We are also studying the regulation of spinal cord regeneration after by the Wnt signaling pathway in Xenopus laevis
Network and Collaborations
Our laboratory is member of the Center for Aging and Regeneration (CARE Chile UC), funded by the Basal Financing Program for Excellence Scientific and Technological Centres. Also, our lab is part of the Millennium Nucleus in Regenerative Biology (MINREB), which focuses in understanding the mechanisms involved in tissue regeneration.

International Collaborators: Hollis Cline (Scripps), Hazel Sive (MIT), José Manuel García- Verdugo (Valencia) and Norman J. Dovichi (University of Notre Dame)
Research Support

Funding Agency:              FONDECYT/CONICYT                                     3/15/2014-3/14/2017

Title: Role of Stat3 signaling in spinal cord regeneration

Goal of the funded grant: To study the role of JAK/STAT signaling in spinal cord regeneration in Xenopus

Funding Agency:              ICGEB, Trieste Italy                                      3/15/2014-3/14/2017

Title: Role of Sox2+ ependymal cells in spinal cord regeneration in Xenopus

Goal of the funded grant: Characterize the activation and fate of sox2 cells in response to injury

Funding Agency:              Millenium Scientific Initiative                         2014-2016

Title: Millenium Nucleus for Regenerative Biology

Goal of the funded grant: To establish Xenopus as a model system to study the cellular and genetic mechanism of spinal cord regeneration

Funding Agency:              CONICYT                                                    2013-2017                    

Title: Center for Aging and Regeneration

Goal of the funded grant: To establish Xenopus as a model system to study the cellular and genetic mechanism of spinal cord regeneration