Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Wendy Beane

Second Advisor

Cindy Linn

Third Advisor

Alanna Van Huizen


Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), such as hydrogen peroxide and superoxides, play an important role in cell signaling and control various cell functions. They have been found essential in stress response in various model organisms, including planarian flatworms. Due to their high regenerative abilities, planarians represent a good model for studying the role of ROS signaling in cell growth and regeneration. In order to uncover the mechanisms of ROS signaling, we investigated expression of three candidate pathway genes: heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), c-Jun-N-Terminal Kinase (JNK), and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). I hypothesized that all three components, modulated by ROS, will affect new tissue (blastema) formation, stem cell proliferation and differentiation in the planarian species, Schmidtea mediterranea. Our data suggested that ROS indeed function upstream of Hsp70 to regulate mitotic activity, stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Our data also showed that JNK, but not ERK, is necessary for blastema formation. Further investigations are needed to assess the role of JNK in the ROS signaling pathway. This study identifies components of the ROS signaling pathway and confirms its role in regeneration. Understanding ROS signaling could give insights into enhancing regenerative medicine and und

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted