The Sikes Lab is broadly interested in understanding the postembryonic developmental processes of regeneration and asexual reproduction. Our research focuses on two groups of flatworms (planarians and acoels) that possess robust abilities to regenerate lost structures and to reproduce via fission and budding. We use a variety of molecular, phylogenetic, and developmental tools to better understand how these divergent invertebrates accomplish asexual reproduction and regeneration.
Acoels are marine flatworms representing one of the two clades with the recently erected phylum Acoelomorpha. With a phylogenetic position basal to all other bilaterians, acoels serve as a model for understanding the evolution and development of animal bodyplans. We utilize acoels of the genus Convolutriloba to investigate how radically different modes of asexual reproduction evolve.
Planarians are freshwater Turbellarian Platyhelminths that have emerged as a model for the study of invertebrate regeneration. These animals possess extraordinary abilites to replace lost body parts. While most studies utilize the model planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, comparative studies using different planarian species are often used to understand regeneration from an evolutionary perspective.
November 2019 | James Sikes completes time as a visiting researcher in the Srivistava lab at Harvard University
July 2019 | Anna Ashkinaziy joins the lab as a research technician
June 2017 | Genevieve Chiong is awarded a Whitehead Summer Research Fellowship for her summer research
May 2017 | The lab is awarded an NIH R15 AREA grant from the National Institute for General Medicine
May 2016 | Aisling Sinclair & Eric Young both defend their undergraduate honors theses on polarity modification in acoels
January 2016 | Blake Jones wins the Adrian Wenner Strong Inference Award from the SICB Division of Invertebrate Zoology
January 2016 | Blake Jones, Ana Najafi, Aisling Sinclair, & Eric Young present their research at SICB in Portland, Oregon
May 2015 | Laura Crowther defends her undergraduate honors thesis on AP axis polarity modification in acoels
June 2014 | Quentin Bruant completes his international research internship
January 2014 | Laura Crowther and Chelsea Harmon present their research at the annual SICB meeting in Austin, Texas
July 2013 | James Sikes's paper on restoring head regeneration in a planarian with limited regenerative ability appears in Nature
May 2013 | Shelley Hubley defends her undergraduate honors thesis on polarity decisions during regeneration in planarians