Botryllus as a Model Organism
Botryllus schlosseri is a colonial tunicate with a number of unique biological features, making it an accessible model organism for a variety of studies.
Allorecognition and Immunity
Allorecognition is the ability of an individual to discriminate its own cells and tissues from those of another individual, and is the process that controls the acceptance or rejection of transplanted tissues in the clinic.
Germline Stem Cells and Gamete Development
Germline stem cells in Botryllus compete for niche occupancy, and there is natural genetic variability in this process that we can use to study stem cell homing and niche interactions.
Mechanotransduction and Vascular Regeneration
Botryllus has a large extracorporeal vascular network that allows direct visualization and manipulation of blood vessels.
Regeneration & Aging
Colonial ascidians are the only chordates with the ability to regenerate every organ in their body, and in Botryllus this takes place every week of its 2-5 year lifespan.