Veronica Hinman, Department Head, Dr. Frederick A. Schwertz Distinguished Professor of Life Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University will be speaking at the Bill Brown Distinguished Lecture in Biological Sciences on Regrowing Your Head: Regeneration in the Sea Star. Distinguished lectures in biological sciences are named in honor of Bill Brown, head of the Department of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University from 1995 to 2000. Brown was a visiting professor of biological sciences at Carnegie Mellon Qatar in 2007.
About the lecture:
Regeneration is a fascinating process by which animals are able to reform lost tissues following traumatic injury. Some animals, including sea stars are super-regenerators and are able to undergo whole body regeneration following bisection into two halves. This process involves many poorly understood phenomena including how the remaining cell sense the tissue loss, and how they reprogram to form the missing tissues and organ systems. I will present our recent work seeking to understand how sea star larvae are able to regenerate their anterior body, including their nervous system following bisection. I show how evolutionary conserved wounding processes establish reprogramming of cell lineages, re-establish anterior-posterior patterning and then recapitulate embryogenesis. I present these findings within an evolutionary framework of these processes in other animals to highlight similarities and differences in this process.
About the speaker:
Veronica Hinman, is an expert in the field of evolutionary and developmental biology. Hinman’s research focuses on the evolution of developmental mechanisms, focusing on gene regulatory networks (GRNs), the complex pathways that control the expression of the genes that drive the formation of complex morphologies. How these genes are expressed results in the vast diversity of life that is present on Earth today. Using echinoderms, including starfish, sea cucumbers and sea urchins as models, Hinman searches to understand how GRNs control cell fate during development and how GRNs are reused to during regeneration. She is the director of Echinobase, on open access bioinformatics database and primary repository for genomic information for Echinoderms.
Hinman earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1989, a bachelor’s degree in zoology in 1994 and a doctoral degree in zoology in 2000 from the University of Queensland in Australia. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology in 2006, she joined the Biological Sciences faculty. She is also a member of Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Computational Biology and the Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology.