I graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2019 with a degree in Biological Sciences, specializing and broadening my interests in development, regeneration and stem cells. Now, I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to work on planarians here in one of the top universities in the world. These flatworms possess an extraordinary ability to regenerate whole bodies from tiny fragments due to the abundance of adult stem cells throughout their bodies. This remarkable trait makes planarians highly attractive as model organisms, allowing me to interrogate the biology of adult stem cells in-vivo.
Not only do they show remarkable feats of regeneration, planarians can also withstand high doses of ionising radiation (up to 15Gy) without any physiological defects. My project involves studying the transcriptional response of planarian stem cells to ionizing radiation, aiming to increase our understanding on how these worms survive and subsequently recover from radiation-induced damage. A stronger mechanistic understanding of radiotolerance in planarians could potentially help us draw parallels and understand radioresistance in human cancer cells, a major cause of tumour relapse after radiotherapy.