Publications by authors named "Tapan Goel"

3 Publications

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Let it rip: The mechanics of self-bisection in asexual planarians determines their population reproductive strategies.

Phys Biol 2021 Oct 12. Epub 2021 Oct 12.

Biology Department, Swarthmore College, 500 College Ave, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, 19081-1306, UNITED STATES.

Asexual freshwater planarians reproduce by transverse bisection (binary fission) into two pieces. This process produces a head and a tail, which fully regenerate within 1-2 weeks. How planarians split into two offspring - using only their musculature and substrate traction - is a challenging biomechanics problem. We found that three different species, Dugesia japonica, Girardia tigrina and Schmidtea mediterranea, have evolved three different mechanical solutions to self-bisect. Using time lapse imaging of the fission process, we quantitatively characterize the main steps of division in the three species and extract the distinct and shared key features. Across the three species, planarians actively alter their body shape, regulate substrate traction, and use their muscles to generate tensile stresses large enough to overcome the ultimate tensile strength of the tissue. Moreover, we show that how each planarian species divides dictates how resources are split among its offspring. This ultimately determines offspring survival and reproductive success. Thus, heterospecific differences in the mechanics of self-bisection of individual worms explain the observed differences in the population reproductive strategies of different planarian species.
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October 2021

Linalool acts as a fast and reversible anesthetic in Hydra.

PLoS One 2019 24;14(10):e0224221. Epub 2019 Oct 24.

Department of Physics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, United States of America.

The ability to make transgenic Hydra lines has allowed for quantitative in vivo studies of Hydra regeneration and physiology. These studies commonly include excision, grafting and transplantation experiments along with high-resolution imaging of live animals, which can be challenging due to the animal's response to touch and light stimuli. While various anesthetics have been used in Hydra studies, they tend to be toxic over the course of a few hours or their long-term effects on animal health are unknown. Here, we show that the monoterpenoid alcohol linalool is a useful anesthetic for Hydra. Linalool is easy to use, non-toxic, fast acting, and reversible. It has no detectable long-term effects on cell viability or cell proliferation. We demonstrate that the same animal can be immobilized in linalool multiple times at intervals of several hours for repeated imaging over 2-3 days. This uniquely allows for in vivo imaging of dynamic processes such as head regeneration. We directly compare linalool to currently used anesthetics and show its superior performance. Linalool will be a useful tool for tissue manipulation and imaging in Hydra research in both research and teaching contexts.
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March 2020

Mouth Function Determines the Shape Oscillation Pattern in Regenerating Hydra Tissue Spheres.

Biophys J 2019 09 6;117(6):1145-1155. Epub 2019 Aug 6.

Department of Physics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California; Biology Department, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Hydra is a small freshwater polyp capable of regeneration from small tissue pieces and from aggregates of cells. During regeneration, a hollow bilayered sphere is formed that undergoes osmotically driven shape oscillations of inflation and rupture. These oscillations are necessary for successful regeneration. Eventually, the oscillating sphere breaks rotational symmetry along the future head-foot axis of the animal. Notably, the shape oscillations show an abrupt shift from large-amplitude, long-period oscillations to small-amplitude, short-period oscillations. It has been widely accepted that this shift in oscillation pattern is linked to symmetry breaking and axis formation, and current theoretical models of Hydra symmetry breaking use this assumption as a model constraint. However, a mechanistic explanation for the shift in oscillation pattern is lacking. Using in vivo manipulation and imaging, we quantified the shape oscillation dynamics and dissected the timing and triggers of the pattern shift. Our experiments demonstrate that the shift in the shape oscillation pattern in regenerating Hydra tissue pieces is caused by the formation of a functional mouth and not by shape symmetry breaking as previously assumed. Thus, model assumptions must be revised in light of these new experimental data, which can be used to constrain and validate improved theoretical models of pattern formation in Hydra.
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September 2019