Lisa Zondag

 

Lisa Zondag,

PhD student, Department of Anatomy, University of Otago

 

 Lisa’s PhD research focuses to uncover the genes and pathways involved in the initiation and differentiation of specialized cell types during whole body regeneration (WBR) in Botryllodies leachi. Regenerative capacity differs greatly across organisms and only a small proportion are capable of WBR. B. leachi however exhibits an extraordinary ability to regenerate a functional adult organism from a minuscule piece of vascularity within 10-14 days.

 

By investigating the transcriptome of B. leachi at different developmental stages of regeneration Lisa aims to gain insight into any gene expression and novel pathways associated with the initiation and differentiation of specialized cell types and the regeneration process.  As a chordate B. leachi falls into the same phylogenetic grouping as chordate animals including vertebrates.  Its close proximity to vertebrate gives the advantage of allowing the comparison of the mechanisms used in B. leachi for self-renewal to that found/absent in vertebrates. Any genes/pathways identified in B. leachi will be analysed to that seen in mice, to examine the role in mammalian development.

 

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Publications, awards and presentations

 Zondag LE, Rutherford K., Gemmell N. and Wilson MJ. (2016) Uncovering the pathways underlying whole body regeneration in a chordate model, Botrylloides leachi using de novo transcriptome analysis. BMC Genomics, in press.

Heenan P, Zondag LE and Wilson MJ. (2015)  Evolution of the Sox gene family within the chordate phylum. Gene. 2015 Sep 8. pii: S0378-1119(15)01093-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2015.09.013

 Zondag LE, Dearden P, and Wilson MJ (2012)  BMC Evolution and Development. Deep sequencing and developmental expression of miRNAs from early honeybee (Apis mellifera) embryos reveals a role in   regulating early embryonic patterning.

 Zondag LE (2011). The role of miRNAs in the evolution of body patterning. Honours dissertation . University of Otago.

Awards

 June 2015 Travel Fellowship: The fellowship was awarded to cover the costs of a 3 week course in: Comparative Regenerative Biology in Maine, USA (Worth $4000). 

 May 2015: Brenda Shore Award (Worth $8000)

 August 2014: ANZSCDB speaker prize at QMB Reproductive and Developmental biology meeting Queenstown, NZ

 Oct 2013: Awarded Otago student travel bursary to attend NZ Tunicate Researchers Meeting at Cawthron Institute, Nelson, NZ

 August 2013: Received a student scholarship to give a talk at NGS conference in Palmerston North.

 November 2012: Awarded University of Otago doctorate level scholarship

 

International Presentations

July            Oral Presentation

2015            Whole Body Regeneration in a chordate, Botrylloides leachi.

                   Presented at The Comparative Biology Course, MDI Biological Laboratory, Maine, USA

June            Poster Presentation

 2015              A genome and RNA sequencing approach to study Whole Body Regeneration in a chordate, Botrylloides leachi.

                      Presented at The Comparative Biology of Tissue Repair, Regeneration, and Aging Symposium, MDI Biological Laboratory, Maine, USA

Local Presentations

Nov            Oral Presentation

2014                 Regeneration in Botrylloides leachi

                        Presented at Anatomy Research Day, Dunedin, NZ

August        Oral Presentation (Awarded ANZSCDB speaker prize)

2014                Whole Body Regeneration in a chordate, Botrylloides leachi.

                       Presented at QMB Reproductive and Developmental biology meeting Queenstown, NZ

August         Poster Presentation

2014               Whole Body Regeneration in Botrylloides leachi

                      Presented at QMB Reproductive and Developmental biology meeting Queenstown, NZ

  Nov          Oral Presentation

 2013             Regeneration in Botrylloides leachi

                     Presented at Anatomy Research Day, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ

October       Oral Presentation

2013                De novo Transcriptome assembly in a Tunicate

                        Presented at Tunicate Researchers Meeting at Cawthron Institute, Nelson, NZ

August        Oral Presentation

2013                Whole Body Regeneration in Botrylloides leachi

                       Presented at NGS conference in Palmerston North, NZ