B. Duygu Özpolat

me-and-lsm780_adjustedB. Duygu Özpolat
Hibbitt Fellow
MRC 212
dozpolat [at] mbl.edu


At the Özpolat Lab the big question we want to answer is “What are the mechanisms of reproductive cell regeneration?”  Reproductive cells are the cells that become eggs and sperm, and then have the potential to give rise to a whole organism. Many organisms (such as hydra, flatworms, earth worms, or sea stars) regenerate their reproductive organs and reproductive cells as a part of whole body regeneration, while vertebrates lack this ability. The mechanisms of regenerating the reproductive cells are not understood but is one of the most impactful regeneration abilities. Understanding the mechanisms of regenerating this cell type would provide insight into the “mother of all stem cells”.

Using marine invertebrates, we want to understand different aspects of regeneration and post-embryonic growth (such as continuous segment addition in annelid worms). What are the embryonic origins of cells involved in regeneration? Can they make all cell types, or are they limited in their potential? When the cells with high potency (such as stem cells or reproductive cells) are lost, how are they replaced? To answer these questions, we combine many exciting techniques such as live-imaging, genome-editing, mRNA injections, and transgenesis. Dumeril’s clam worm (Platynereis dumerilii), sea urchins, and sea stars are some of the organisms helping us answer these questions.

Video caption: Platynereis dumerilii (or marine worm) embryo live-imaged every 12 minutes using confocal scanning microscopy. Like other trochophores, Platynereis develops into a swimming larva, which has been challenging to live-image. This is the first long-term live imaging of a Platynereis embryo (and an annelid trochophore in general) at single cell resolution that allowed us to determine precise cell lineages and follow the reproductive cells. The embryo was injected at 4-cell stage into the D quadrant with FUCCI (a live-cell cycle reporter) and membrane-localized GFP. eLife, vol. 6, Dec. 2017, doi:10.7554/elife.30463.

MBL Blog: http://social.mbl.edu/finding-the-art-in-science-a-profile-of-duygu-ozpolat-mbl-hibbitt-fellow


Google Scholar, Researchgate

Research Papers

Özpolat B.D., Handberg-Thorsager M., Vervoort M., Balavoine G. Cell lineage and cell cycling analyses of the 4d micromere using live imaging in the marine annelid Platynereis dumeriliieLife DOI: 10.7554/eLife.30463 (2017)

Özpolat B.D., Sloane E., Zattara E.E., Bely A.E. Plasticity and regeneration of gonads in the annelid Pristina leidyi.  EvoDevo 7:22. (2016)

Özpolat B.D., Bely A.E.. Gonad establishment during asexual reproduction in the annelid Pristina leidyiDev. Biol. 405(1):123–36. (2015)

Özpolat B.D., Zapata M., Frugé J.D., Coote J., Lee J., Muneoka K., Anderson R. Regeneration of the elbow joint in the developing chick embryo recapitulates development. Dev. Biol. 372(2):229-38. (2012)

Reviews and Book Chapters

Özpolat B.D., Bely A.E. Developmental and molecular biology of annelid regeneration: a comparative review of recent studies. Current Op. in Gen. Dev. Volume 40,  pg: 144–153. (2016) (Review)

Özpolat B.D., Gökçümen Ö. Humans and philosophy under the light of evolution. Cogito YKY (60-61). (2009) (Book Chapter in Turkish)


Emily Kuehn, Research Assistant I
Rowe 313
ekuehn [at] mbl.edu