Schmidtea mediterranea: A new animal model for neurodevelopmental | 52546
Journal of Clinical Toxicology

Journal of Clinical Toxicology
Open Access

ISSN: 2161-0495

+44 1478 350008

Schmidtea mediterranea: A new animal model for neurodevelopmental toxicology studies?

4th Global Summit on Toxicology

August 24-26, 2015 Philadelphia, USA

Mary M Staehle

Scientific Tracks Abstracts: J Clin Toxicol

Abstract :

Schmidtea mediterranea (Smed) planaria are small, freshwater flatworms with a centralized nervous system, a sequenced
genome, and a large population of pluripotent stem-like cells known as neoblasts. These worms have remarkable regenerative
capabilities, including the ability to regenerate any or all of the nervous system. We hypothesize that head regeneration in Smed is
analogous to neurodevelopment in higher level organisms like humans and that these processes require similar mechanisms such
that characterization of the disruption of head regeneration in Smed provides insight into neurodevelopmental effects in humans.
We have tested this hypothesis with exposure to two known teratogens: ethanol and bisphenol A (BPA). Our results indicate that
the reacquisition of cognitive function in head-regenerating Smed exposed to either of these is delayed, as evidenced by delayed
movement-normalized photophobic behaviour. This suggests direct effects on neuro regenerative processes that can be characterized
at the molecular level. We have also begun to use this system to assess BPA-alternative materials. Taken together, our results suggest
that the Smed could be a “coal-mine canary” for neurodevelopmental effects of novel materials.

Biography :

Mary M Staehle is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Rowan University. Before joining the faculty at Rowan in 2010, she worked at
the Daniel Baugh Institute for Functional Genomics and Computational Biology at Thomas Jefferson University and received her PhD in chemical engineering from the
University of Delaware. She also holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. Her research interests include neuro regenerative dynamics, the
characterization of toxicity in novel materials, systems biology, and biomedical control systems.