MaryLynn FitzSimons

Research Interests

I am currently working with Dr. Voot Yin at MDI Biological Laboratory.  Our lab studies cardiac and appendage regeneration in the zebrafish, axolotl (a type of salamander), and polypterus (a primitive ray-finned fish), all of which demonstrate a remarkable regenerative capacity. Using these models organisms as guides, we are developing a greater understanding of the molecular circuitry governing successful regeneration.  My specific project is focused on elucidating the factors governing macrophage recruitment and polarization during cardiac regeneration.  Macrophages are members of the innate immune system, which can be polarized towards either a phagocytic, pro-inflammatory fate, or a reparative, anti-inflammatory fate.  Recent work has demonstrated that macrophages are necessary for successful cardiac and appendage regeneration.  Our aim is to translate a better understanding of factors governing the activity of these critical immune cells into novel therapies to enhance human cardiac repair.

Dissertation Mentor

Robert Wheeler