Eva-Maria S. Collins

Eva-Maria S. Collins

Ph. D., Technical University Dresden, Germany, 2007


Office: UH 7214
Phone: 858-534-0524

Research Statement

I am interested in the role of physical principles for living system. Currently, we are working in three major areas: Biomechanics, asexual reproduction, and behavior&memory. We use techniques such as micro- and macrorheology, in vivo imaging, and force traction microscopy, and combine them with molecular biology methods to investigate how the structure and function of biological samples influences developmental processes, regeneration, and asexual reproduction in planarians. The latter is itself a major area of interest in my lab as it can be studied from the molecular level to the population level, allowing us to combine stem cell biology with tissue mechanics, statistical physics, evolution and aging. To this end, we developed a unique experimental system in which we track thousands of individual worms over the course of several years to study their reproduction dynamics. Every time a planarian reproduces asexually by ripping itself apart, the tail piece needs to regenerate a new head and central nervous system. We study nervous system regeneration and maintenance in the context of learning and memory, on the cellular as well as the organism level, and combine in vivo imaging with electrophysiology and automated tracking of planarian behavior.