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Associate Professor Caroline Beck

Email caroline.beck@otago.ac.nz

Phone 64-3-479-4109

Lab website

Dr Caroline Beck

Teaching

Research Interests  

Tadpoles expressing GFP (green) next to their wild type siblings (yellow)

As a developmental biologist, I am interested in how a single cell, the fertilised egg, progressively acquires the form an function of its parents over time by complex  gene regulation. My lab is especially interested in the development of organs such as the vertebrate limb and eye and in the ability of some vertebrates to regenerate these organs. We use the South African Clawed frog Xenopus laevis as well as the axolotl Ambystoma mexicanum as model organisms to ask questions about how complex structures are built and rebuilt during embryogenesis and regeneration following injury.

For more information about my research please see the Beck lab website

Current Postgraduate Students

  • Sulagna Banerjee (PhD Genetics) A tadpole model of epilepsy
  • Prashath Karunaraj (PhD Genetics) How noggin-like proteins have evolved and how their functions have changed (with Peter Dearden, Biochemistry)
  • Fernando Miguez (MSc) Identifying the control mechanisms of secondary neurulation in Xenopus laevis
  • Matt Reily-Bell (MSc) Understanding the molecular consequences of RECQL4 disruption in skeletal development (with Louise Bicknell, Pathology)
  • Thomas Devine (BSc Hons Microbiology) The microbiome and regeneration (with Xochitl Morgan, Microbiology)

Current and Potential Future Projects

  • Investigating spontaneous neural tube assembly as a new regenerative strategy for spinal cord regeneration
  • Searching for evidence of morphogen gradients in developing and regenerating limbs
  • New methods for functional analysis of newly identified regeneration-specific genes
  • Amphibian limb development and patterning

Recent Research Students

  • Thomas Bishop (PhD Genetics 2018) The molecular mechanism of Xenopus regeneration and its activation in mammals.
  • Morgan Jones (MSc Genetics) Global demethylation of blastema stem cells during zebrafish tail regeneration reveals new prospects for epigenetic study in regeneration (with Tim Hore, Anatomy)
  • Matt Reily-Bell (BSc Hons Genetics 2017) Crispr/cas9 disruption of cdt1 in Xenopus
  • Jessica Mckenzie (BSc Hons Genetics 2016) Investigating the evolution of Noggin-like genes and their relationship with axis patterning pathways.
  • Jack Foster (PGDipSci Genetics 2015) Role of calpain 8 in limb development and regeneration
  • Paulomi Mehta (PGDipSci Genetics 2015) Genetic regulation of proximodistal limb patterning by Fgfs.
  • Elisha Wang (PhD Genetics 2014): Roles and expression of Fgf/RTK signaling modulators, Sproutys and Sulfs, in Xenopus limb development and regeneration.
  • Samuel Keenan (MSc Genetics 2014) The influence of gremlin-induced BMP inhibition and subsequent associated genetic interactions in Xenopus laevis limb development.
  • Olivia Tidswell (BSc Hons Genetics 2014) Knowing your noggin from your trunk: how did the arthropod noggin-like proteins evolve? (With Liz Duncan and Peter Dearden)
  • Jessica Bromell (BSc Hons Genetics 2014) The roles of retinoic acid response element-adjacent genes in Xenopus laevis development
  • John McNally (MSc Genetics 2013) The role of Retinoic acid as a Morphogenic agent in Xenopus laevis Early Axis Formation and Limb Development
  • Jeremy Lynn (PGDipSci Genetics 2013) Characterization of Gremlin induced BMP inhibition during limb development
  • Amy Taylor (PhD Genetics 2013): The Role of Epigenetics in Amphibian Regeneration
  • Mythrayee Sundaresan (PGDipSci Anat 2012) The role of lgals9c-b and Xgalectin-IIa in the formation of pre-cartilage condensations during Xenopus laevis limb development
  • Sam Capon (MSc Genetics 2011) Characterising Cfm2, a novel gene involved in vertebrate development.
  • Elisha Wang (MSc Genetics 2011) Revised function of the BMP inhibitor Gremlin in Xenopus limb development and its potential in hindlimb regeneration.

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Publications

Beck, C. (2017). Recovering what was lost: Can morphogens scale to enable regeneration? In D. M. Gardiner (Ed.), Regenerative engineering and developmental biology: Principles and applications. (pp. 207-227). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Taylor, A., Beck, C., & Bicknell, L. (2017). Modelling rare disease in Xenopus laevis using CRISPR/Cas9. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Genetics Society of Australasia (GSA) with the New Zealand Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (NZSBMB). 689. Retrieved from http://gen2017.w.events4you.currinda.com

Jones, M., Beck, C., & Hore, T. (2017). The role of DNA hypomethylation in Zebrafish cell reprogramming during tail fin regeneration. Proceedings of the University of Otago Student Research Symposium: Te Wānaka Rakahau: Ākoka. (pp. 40-41). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/graduate-research/scholarships/otago643219.html

Keenan, S. R., & Beck, C. W. (2016). Xenopus limb bud morphogenesis. Developmental Dynamics, 245(3), 233-243. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24351

Beck, C. W. (2016). Manipulating carbohydrate metabolism to enhance regeneration. BioEssays, 38(12), 1192. doi: 10.1002/bies.201600196

Chapter in Book - Research

Beck, C. (2017). Recovering what was lost: Can morphogens scale to enable regeneration? In D. M. Gardiner (Ed.), Regenerative engineering and developmental biology: Principles and applications. (pp. 207-227). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Beck, C. W. (2012). Studying regeneration in Xenopus. In S. Hoppler & P. D. Vize (Eds.), Xenopus protocols: Post-genomic approaches: Methods in molecular biology (Vol. 917). (pp. 525-539). New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-992-1_30

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Journal - Research Article

Keenan, S. R., & Beck, C. W. (2016). Xenopus limb bud morphogenesis. Developmental Dynamics, 245(3), 233-243. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24351

Beck, C. W. (2015). Development of the vertebrate tailbud. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology, 4(1), 33-44. doi: 10.1002/wdev.163

Wang, Y.-H., Keenan, S. R., Lynn, J., McEwan, J. C., & Beck, C. W. (2015). Gremlin1 induces anterior–posterior limb bifurcations in developing Xenopus limbs but does not enhance limb regeneration. Mechanisms of Development, 138, 256-267. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2015.10.003

Wang, Y.-H., & Beck, C. (2015). Distinct patterns of endosulfatase genes expression during Xenopus laevis limb development and regeneration. Regeneration, 2(1), 19-25. doi: 10.1002/reg2.27

Wang, Y.-H., & Beck, C. W. (2014). Distal expression of sprouty (spry) genes during Xenopus laevis limb development and regeneration. Gene Expression Patterns, 15(1), 61-66. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2014.04.004

Pietak, A., Ma, S., Beck, C. W., & Stringer, M. D. (2013). Fundamental ratios and logarithmic periodicity in human limb bones. Journal of Anatomy, 222(5), 526-537. doi: 10.1111/joa.12041

Jones, T. E. M., Day, R. C., & Beck, C. W. (2013). Attenuation of bone morphogenetic protein signaling during amphibian limb development results in the generation of stage-specific defects. Journal of Anatomy, 223(5), 474-488. doi: 10.1111/joa.12098

Taylor, A. J., & Beck, C. W. (2012). Histone deacetylases are required for amphibian tail and limb regeneration but not development. Mechanisms of Development, 129(9-12), 208-218. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2012.08.001

Day, R. C., & Beck, C. W. (2011). Transdifferentiation from cornea to lens in Xenopus laevis depends on BMP signalling and involves upregulation of Wnt signalling. BMC Developmental Biology, 11, 54. doi: 10.1186/1471-213x-11-54

Lynch, J., McEwan, J., & Beck, C. W. (2011). Analysis of the expression of retinoic acid metabolising genes during Xenopus laevis organogenesis. Gene Expression Patterns, 11(1-2), 112-117. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2010.10.003

McEwan, J., Lynch, J., & Beck, C. W. (2011). Expression of key retinoic acid modulating genes suggests active regulation during development and regeneration of the amphibian limb. Developmental Dynamics, 240(5), 1259-1270. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22555

Malloch, E. L., Perry, K. J., Fukui, L., Johnson, V. R., Wever, J., Beck, C. W., … Henry, J. J. (2009). Gene expression profiles of lens regeneration and development in Xenopus laevis. Developmental Dynamics, 238(9), 2340-2356. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21998

Beck, C. W., Izpisúa Belmonte, J. C., & Christen, B. (2009). Beyond early development: Xenopus as an emerging model for the study of regenerative mechanisms. Developmental Dynamics, 238(6), 1226-1248. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21890

Barker, D. M., & Beck, C. W. (2009). Overexpression of the transcription factor msx1 is insufficient to drive complete regeneration of refractory stage Xenopus laevis hindlimbs. Developmental Dynamics, 238(6), 1366-1378. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21923

Pearl, E. J., Barker, D., Day, R. C., & Beck, C. W. (2008). Identification of genes associated with regenerative success of Xenopus laevis hindlimbs. BMC Developmental Biology, 8, 66. doi: 10.1186/1471-213X-8-66

Jarikji, Z. H., Vanamala, S., Beck, C. W., Wright, C. V. E., Leach, S. T., & Horb, M. E. (2007). Differential ability of Ptf1a and Ptf1a-VP16 to convert stomach, duodenum and liver to pancreas. Developmental Biology, 304, 786-799.

Beck, C. W., Christen, B., Barker, D., & Slack, J. M. W. (2006). Temporal requirement for bone morphogenetic proteins in regeneration of the tail and limb of Xenopus tadpoles. Mechanisms of Development, 123, 674-688.

Beck, C., Christen, B., & Slack, J. M. W. (2003). Molecular pathways needed for regeneration of spinal cord and muscle in a vertebrate. Developmental Cell, 5, 429-439.

Avaron, F., Thaeron-Antono, C., Beck, C., Borday-Birraux, V., Geraudie, J., Casane, D., & Laurenti, P. (2003). Comparison of even-skipped related gene expression pattern in vertebrates shows an association between expression domain loss and modification of selective constraints on sequences. Evolution & Development, 5(2), 145-156.

Christen, B., Beck, C., Lombardo, A., & Slack, J. M. W. (2003). Regeneration-specific expression pattern of three posterior hox genes. Developmental Dynamics, 226, 349-355.

Beck, C. W., & Slack, J. M. W. (2002). Notch is required for outgrowth of the Xenopus tail bud. International Journal of Developmental Biology, 46, 255-258.

Beck, C. W., & Slack, J. M. W. (2001). An amphibian with ambition: A new role for Xenopus in the 21st century [Minireview]. Genome Biology, 2(10), 1029.1-1029.5. Retrieved from http://genomebiology.com/2001/2/10/reviews/1029

Beck, C. W., Whitman, M., & Slack, J. M. W. (2001). The role of BMP signaling in outgrowth and patterning of the Xenopus tail bud. Developmental Biology, 238, 303-314.

Chalmers, A. D., Slack, J. M. W., & Beck, C. W. (2000). Regional gene expression in the epithelia of the Xenopus tadpole gut. Mechanisms of Development, 96, 125-128.

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Journal - Research Other

Beck, C. W. (2016). Manipulating carbohydrate metabolism to enhance regeneration. BioEssays, 38(12), 1192. doi: 10.1002/bies.201600196

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Slack, J. M. W., Beck, C. W., Gargioli, C., & Christen, B. (2004). Cellular and molecular mechanisms of regeneration in Xenopus. In B. Heap (Ed.), Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences. 359(1445), (pp. 745-751). London: The Royal Society. [Full Paper]

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Taylor, A., Beck, C., & Bicknell, L. (2017). Modelling rare disease in Xenopus laevis using CRISPR/Cas9. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Genetics Society of Australasia (GSA) with the New Zealand Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (NZSBMB). 689. Retrieved from http://gen2017.w.events4you.currinda.com

Jones, M., Beck, C., & Hore, T. (2017). The role of DNA hypomethylation in Zebrafish cell reprogramming during tail fin regeneration. Proceedings of the University of Otago Student Research Symposium: Te Wānaka Rakahau: Ākoka. (pp. 40-41). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/graduate-research/scholarships/otago643219.html

Dearden, P. K., Duncan, E., Tidswell, O., & Beck, C. (2016). Linking Noggin and terminal patterning. Proceedings of the European Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology (EED) 6th Meeting. (pp. 100). Retrieved from http://evodevo.eu/

Beck, C. W., & Miles, L. (2005). Pleiotropic actions of BMP signalling in Xenopus laevis development. Mechanisms of Development. 122, (pp. S165-S166). [Abstract]

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Beck, C. W., & Bishop, T. (2016, August-September). Understanding how regeneration is regulated in a vertebrate model: The clawed frog Xenopus. Verbal presentation at the Queenstown Molecular Biology (QMB) Meetings, Nelson, New Zealand.

More publications...