Although many organisms have the ability to regenerate tissues following damage, very often this ability is lost as the organism develops. This phenomenon is observed in diverse species, including frogs, mice and even humans. Understanding why this happens is essential to developing novel strategies with which to promote regeneration, and potentially induce it in tissues that normally do not regenerate.
The Harris lab is using genetic, molecular and imaging techniques in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, to understand how tissues undergo injury-induced regeneration, and why this process seems to progressively decline with developmental maturity.
Our aim: To understand the genetics underlying the regenerative capacity of a tissue, specifically Why does a tissue lose the ability to regenerate as it matures?
- Identify genes that are involved in a regenerative response,
- Understand how these genes are regulated - why they can respond to a damage stimulus, and why this response can change over time, and
- Elucidate the role these genes play in the regenerative process.
Ultimately we hope to use this information to develop novel manipulations that can augment the regeneration of tissues following injury, or even stimulate regeneration of non-regenerating tissues.