Science Daily reported on a promising new mechanism for wound healing identified by Vicki Losick ’01, an assistant professor at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.
Wound healing typically involves growing more cells, through cell division. But Losick has identified another response to injury or disease: the growth of cell size. She calls this phenomenon “wound-induced polyploidy.”
The capacity of cells to grow in size “has been known for some time,” says Science Daily. “But what wasn’t previously known is that these cells are a mechanism to respond to injury.”
Losick says that “our findings suggest that the cellular damage caused by cell loss or wounding leads to different mechanisms of tissue repair — cell proliferation or cell growth — depending on context.
“Now that we have discovered that WIP is a widely used part of the body’s healing arsenal, we can look for genes or drugs that promote healing by boosting the body’s ability to generate these extra-large cells.”
Losick’s research, co-authored with researcher Albert Jun of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Medical School, has been published inPLOS ONE.
At Bates, Losick did an honors thesis in biochemistry, investigating the hepatitis A virus under Dana Professor of Chemistry Glen Lawson.