A pinboard by
Eleni Chrysostomou

Biologist interested in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Currently, I am a doctoral student at the National University of Ireland Galway focusing on the role of SoxB family of transcription factors during nervous system development and regeneration using the animal model Hydractinia; a well-established stem cell animal model. Ι received my BSc with Honors from Lancaster University, UK where Ι completed my Master’s degree in Tissue Engineering as well. After finishing my studies, I worked for the Cancer Research UK, University of Southampton on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. I can be contacted at chrysostomoueleni@gmail.com or e.chrysostomou1@nuigalway.ie.


Why is good to know how the nervous system develops and regenerates ?

The structure and function of the nervous system remains one of the most fascinating and yet challenging aspects in biology. The way in which neural progenitors (NPs) are specified and spatially arranged, and how they proliferate, differentiate and migrate to form a functional nervous system is controlled by patterning mechanisms which are not fully understood. When it comes to neuronal regeneration, the picture is even more blurry.

Unraveling how these patterning mechanisms are controlled and regulated to form a neuronal network during tissue homeostasis and regeneration is a complicated task for every animal model. To address this issue, we use Hydractinia, a marine cnidarian hydrozoid which encompasses remarkable abilities to regenerate any lost body parts, including functional nervous system after injury.

The origin of committed nerve cells in the regenerating tissues and the molecular mechanisms driving their patterning is not known. To explore this subject, we generated transgenic reporter animals expressing fluorescent proteins under the control of different nerve-cell related genes, including three SoxB genes. Lineage tracing of differentiated neurons, as well as SoxB+ cells, that are expressed at different stages of neural fate establishment, will clarify the role of each cell type and will help to understand how the neuronal network is established both in development and in head regeneration.