As astronauts will be isolated from the full range of medical interventions available on earth, it will be paramount to harness the innate healing capacities of the human body. To this end, we are studying how, during the first two years of life, humans have the remarkable capacity to regenerate the tips of their digits after amputation. Our goal is to extend this capacity for regeneration throughout a person's lifetime. In complementary studies, we are looking at the process of limb formation in the embryo to gain further clues as to how the detailed anatomy of the limb can be self-assembled from an initial mass of undifferentiated cells.
Lehoczky JA, Tabin CJ. Lgr6 marks nail stem cells and is required for digit tip regeneration. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Oct 27;112(43):13249-54. PMCID: PMC4629333
Lehoczky JA, Robert B, Tabin CJ. Mouse digit tip regeneration is mediated by fate-restricted progenitor cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Dec 20;108(51):20609-14. PMCID: PMC3251149