Salamanders are unique in that they can regenerate a vast number of clinically relevant body structures as an adult, including their limbs, tails, jaws, sections of the heart, ocular tissues, and parts of the brain and spinal cord.  Unlike humans, they are resistant to scarring and the way their immune system deals with injury favours a regenerative program that faithfully replaces the damaged tissues, rather than employ the inflammation, fibrosis and scarring that usually occurs in mammals.  We are interested in the molecular events during the wounding response in salamanders (Axlolots) and aim to uncover the molecular switches that can direct mammalian wound healing down a more regenerative (“scarless”) pathway. Salamander transgenic technology and genomic tools have only recently become available, meaning that for the first time we are presented with a unique opportunity to tackle the important regeneration questions with modern scientific tools in a wide range of important clinically relevant contexts.

Dr James Godwin is an independent research fellow in the Rosenthal Group and a recipient of the 2008 Newcomb Cleveland Prize for his work on the molecular basis of nerve dependence in salamander regeneration. 

His last appointment was at University College in London (UCL) as a research fellow in the Laboratory of Jeremy Brockes where he spent 5 years investigating the mechanisms of salamander regeneration. 

His PhD was obtained at Melbourne University in the Immunology Research Centre based at St Vincent’s Hospital.  This work examined cross species immune mechanisms and focussed on molecules aimed at limiting immune rejection.

His current research program looks at the immunological pathways in amphibians (Axolotls) that promote regeneration and limit the scarring response.  His research is focused on finding the immunological molecules capable of extending the regenerative capacity in mammals using both molecular and transgenic technologies.