Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Wendy Beane

Second Advisor

Blair Szymczyna

Third Advisor

Robert Eversole


The role of weak magnetic fields in biological systems is a topic that has gained interest in recent years, especially with increasing evidence that seems to support the applicability of magnetic fields to regenerative medicine. It has been shown that weak magnetic fields have the ability to change the concentrations of free radicals in biological systems by way of altering the concentrations of electron spin configurations in radical pairs. This suggests that weak magnetic fields have the ability to affect levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in vivo. Here, we explored the effects of exposing regenerating planarian flatworms to a weak static magnetic field (WSMF). We found that exposure to a WSMF with a strength of 200 μT during regeneration inhibits new tissue growth (blastema formation) at amputation sites in planarians. Similar results were obtained when regenerates were treated with pharmacological ROS inhibitors alone. Finally, our data demonstrates that exposure to a 200 μT WSMF blocks ROS accumulation (as measured by an ROS indicator dye), phenocopying direct pharmacological ROS inhibition. Together, these results indicate that WSMFs affect blastema growth via decreased ROS accumulation following injury. This suggests that a radical pair mechanism is the ultimate means by which WSMF alter regenerative outgrowth.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted