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Regenerative Biology; Developmental Biology; Integrative Physiology.
The regulation of animal size and shape is a longstanding and fundamental question in Biology. Although animals such as planaria and salamanders can fully regenerate their body parts after injury, humans lack this amazing ability. The Tseng lab is especially interested in studying how an animal senses physiologically that it has injured or lost body organs and how it responds to repair the damage. Understanding these processes have important implications for developing regenerative therapies for damaged tissues and aging. We pursue these studies using the powerful and well-characterized vertebrate model, the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. Like humans, Xenopus tadpoles display age-dependent regenerative ability, making it an excellent system for identifying the still unknown mechanisms that underlie the differences between regenerative and non-regenerative responses to injury. Using interdisciplinary approaches (including molecular, chemical-genetic, physiological, and in vivo imaging tools), we seek to elucidate and integrate the biochemical and bioelectrical control of animal regeneration. In the long term, our goal is to build a blueprint for organ regeneration and to apply this knowledge towards developing novel therapeutics for regenerative medicine.