Professor Aziz Aboobaker : ‘Understanding stem cells and regeneration using the planarian model system’


We are focused on leveraging planarian biology as a model with which to make fundamental insights into stem cell biology and regeneration. The pluripotent stem cell population of these animals allows them to regenerate entire animal from small starting fragments. These stem cells also provide amazing homeostatic capacity, allowing them to grow and de grow in response changing nutrient availability while retaining perfect scaling of all organs and tissues. An emergent property of this life history is that planarians also entirely avoid the biological ageing process and may effectively be immortal. I will present our work to understand the mechanisms that underpin key planarian life history processes and demonstrate that we can make novel insights relevant to human disease processes.