Dr. Yuval Rinkevich

Unlocking the Secrets of Regeneration

"Imagine an animal that can regenerate its entire body, every week, from as little as a few circulating cells. Imagine an individual that dies through natural death, but then years later re-emerges with its whole body regenerated from discarded blood vessel fragments. Nature has elaborated on examples of regeneration, that on first glance appear like a storyline from a science fiction movie”, says Dr. Yuval Rinkevich. He studies tissue regeneration, and his lab is dedicated to unraveling nature’s undisclosed mechanisms of body rehabilitative programs, at multiple layers of its biological regulation. His lab combines approaches from the disciples of developmental biology, stem cell biology, and tissue pathology with a focus on the development of cell therapies for chronic lung diseases. Now he has taken on the position of Junior Group Leader funded by the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) at the Comprehensive Pneumology Center (CPC) of Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Yuval Rinkevich. Photo: HMGU

As a biological discipline, regeneration has long tradition going back nearly 250 years to the early work of the Swiss naturalist Abraham Trembley (1710 – 1784) on the freshwater polyps. Since then, the methodology has changed fundamentally. Today scientists work with techniques of stem cell biology and mouse genetics with increased translational aspects, collectively termed regenerative medicine.

Beyond state-of-the art

Dr. Rinkevich wishes to identify fundamental cellular and molecular principles of tissue/organ regeneration, and develop a knowledge basis for therapeutic strategies in clinical use with a focus on chronic lung diseases. At the Comprehensive Pneumology Center at the Helmholtz Zentrum München he plans to explore these questions at multiple levels of biological organization, from whole organisms to single cells, and employ state-of-the-art mouse genetics, cell and molecular biology approaches to pursue its diverse questions. Research in the lab of Dr. Rinkevich would be focused on understanding how tissue/organ regeneration occurs, at single cell levels, what dictates the diversity of regeneration throughout ontogeny, between different tissues within an organism, and among diverse taxonomic groups– all under one roof of the new laboratory with its sophisticated equipment. Dr. Rinkevich’s work combines flow cytometry, mouse genetics and single cell analyses, in silico approaches and live imaging with principles from embryology, developmental and stem cell biology providing an exiting and interdisciplinary research environment.

Extensive preliminary work

Yuval Rinkevich has devoted his career to the study of animal regeneration. As postdoc he has conducted research at the renowned Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University, where he studied mammalian tissue/organ regeneration. During his graduate studies at the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa he conducted regeneration studies on sea squirts (Botrylloides leachi), organisms that regrow an entire body from a single blood vessel fragment. Dr. Rinkevich has been awarded several international postdoctoral fellowships, and has published numerous studies in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Reviews Nephrology, Developmental Cell, Cell Reports and PLoS Biology.