REGENERATE-IT: learning from animals how to regenerate
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Eugene Berezikov received a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Network (DN) grant and will coordinate the project entitled REGENERATE-IT, which brings together researchers working on different regenerative model organisms in order to understand common principles underlying mechanisms of regeneration and to train the next generation of researchers in regenerative biology and adjacent fields.

While the natural regenerative ability of humans is limited, some animals have remarkable regenerative capacity. For example, planarian flatworms can restore all body parts from small pieces of tissue, salamanders can grow back lost limbs and repair damaged eyes, and zebrafish can regenerate their heart and fins. By identifying the common biological principles underlying the regenerative processes in these different animal models, we can learn a great deal on how to improve regenerative interventions in humans. Currently, regenerative animal models are studied in isolation, preventing the discovery of such shared mechanisms, and the REGENERATE-IT Network fills this gap. Doctoral candidates trained by REGENERATE-IT will obtain a broad and unique understanding of the fundamentals of regenerative biology and of the needs of research in regenerative medicine. The REGENERATE-IT Network therefore includes scientists working on regenerative model organisms such as flatworms, cnidarians, crustaceans, amphibians and zebrafish; stem cell scientists working on mouse and human models; scientists with impressive track records in translational research and experience with clinical trials; and experts in key technologies such as genomics, single cell sequencing, imaging and drug screening. REGENERATE-IT will train 11 Doctoral candidates through research, secondments to other laboratories, consortium meetings, and workshops covering a wide range of topics. In addition to consolidating European strengths in regenerative biology, and training a cohort of next-generation scientists capable of cross-disciplinary research, REGENERATE-IT will combine and deliver theoretical and technological breakthroughs, and advance the frontiers of regenerative biology and medicine.