Faculty Profiles

Eva-Maria S. Collins

Faculty-Affiliate, Bioengineering

Role of physical principles for living system. Biomechanics, asexual reproduction, and behavior and memory. Her two main model systems are freshwater planarians and hydras. 

Prof. Collins is currently, working in three major areas: biomechanics, asexual reproduction, and behavior and memory. Her two main model systems are freshwater planarians and hydras. Both organisms are famous for their incredible regenerative capabilities: one can cut them into many pieces and each piece will give rise to an entire new animal!

She uses techniques such as micro- and macrorheology, in vivo imaging, and force traction microscopy, and combine them with molecular biology methods to investigate how structure and function influence developmental processes, regeneration, and asexual reproduction (in planarians). Planarian asexual reproduction 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.

Capsule Bio:

Eva-Maria Schoetz Collins is an Associate Professor of Physics, working in the section of Cell and Developmental Biology.  She received her PhD from the Technical University in Dresden, Germany. Right after her PhD she was as a Lewis-Sigler Fellow and Lecturer in Physics at Princeton University. She is a 2011 recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface. She was selected as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow in Physics in 2013, and a Hellman fellow and Scialog fellow in 2014.

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Eva-Maria Collins
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