February, 2020 

Geroge Tsissios was awarded by the Society for Developmental Biology (SDB) as part of its annual Emerging Research Organisms grant competition. On the grant's website, SDB states the grant competition aims to "fund projects aimed at developing techniques, approaches, community resources, collaborations, and new lines of research to study developmental mechanisms in non-traditional model systems." George was one of only two graduate students to receive the award in 2020. The abstract for his award-winning proposal can be found below:

Pleurodeles waltl: An Emerging Research Model to Expand the Regeneration Toolbox 


Abstract: Newts are considered one of the best vertebrates to study regeneration since they can regenerate most body parts, even during adulthood. Despite these clear reasons for utilizing newts as a model system, limitations such as their complex life cycle and enormous genome size, make it difficult for the application of molecular genetics. Pleurodeles waltl was recently introduced as a powerful tool to overcome these limitations.  P. waltl can be easily bred in the laboratory and their genome has recently been sequenced. This grant will be used to generate, maintain and expand the first P. waltl colony in the United States. Additionally, we will generate a transgenic line for live monitoring of cell cycle dynamics during regeneration and development. Establishing P. waltl as a research model will provide us with insights about the regeneration process that were not possible before.