Awarded in 2017
Home Department: Bioengineering
Faculty Advisors: Bo Wang (Bioengineering) and William Talbot (Developmental Biology)
Research Title: Single-Cell Dissection of Neuronal Organization in a Regenerative Brain
Research Description: Recent developments in neuroregenerative studies present immunological responses as showing both positive and negative regulation of neuronal regrowth. Such information can be untangled in the planarian flatworm, which exhibits extraordinary neuroregenerative ability, although the cleanup processes by glial and immune cells in this system remain unknown. Characterization of these cellular cleanup roles may uncover novel mechanisms that allow for such robust neuroregeneration in the planarian. Further implication of these functional modules in the neuroregeneration of a vertebrate, the zebrafish, will help to reveal regulatory mechanisms that are transferable across species to rebuild neuronal networks after severe injury. Margarita’s project combines engineering and developmental biology by developing a set of new tools that will integrate biological systems between basal invertebrates and complex vertebrates.
Margarita recently graduated and is continuing research and developing tools for cellular analysis with biotech startups in the area.