Speakers: Katya Mack, PhD

Katya Mack, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Biomedical Data Scientist
University of Kansas


Katya Mack is an Assistant Professor in the department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. She earned her PhD in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley and was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. Her research primarily focuses on understanding the role of gene regulatory evolution in complex trait variation using house mice as a model system.

Allele-Specific Expression Reveals Genetic Drivers of Tissue Regeneration in Mice

In adult mammals, skin wounds typically heal by scarring rather than through regeneration. In contrast, “super-healer” MRL mice have the unusual ability to regenerate ear punch wounds, yet the molecular basis for this regeneration remains elusive. Using hybrid crosses between MRL and non-regenerating mice, we use allele-specific gene expression to identify cis-regulatory variation associated with ear regeneration. Analyzing three major wound cell populations, we identified extensive strain- and tissue- specific cis-regulatory changes associated with differences in healing outcomes. Ectopic treatment with one of these proteins, complement factor H (CFH), accelerated wound repair and induced regeneration in typically fibrotic wounds. Through single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), we observed that CFH treatment dramatically reduced immune cell recruitment to wounds, suggesting a potential mechanism for CFH’s effect. Overall, our results provide insights into the molecular drivers of regeneration and the utility of allele-specific expression for identifying genes underlying complex traits.