Jo Ann Cameron, Ph.D., Affiliate Faculty

Image of Dr.Cameron

Associate Professor, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and College of Medicine Core Faculty Member, Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering

Regeneration Research Theme, Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Institute for Genomic Biology

Room 2103

1206 West Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801

Phone: (217) 333-1254

Fax: (217) 244-1800



We are conducting studies that will provide insight into why most adult vertebrates, including humans, lose the ability to regenerate their limbs. The same principles that apply to developing systems often hold true for regenerating systems. Our laboratory has a long-standing interest in how vertebrate limb pattern is established during development and regeneration. Successful vertebrate limb regeneration is accomplished by formation, continued growth, patterning, and differentiation of a regeneration blastema at the cut surface of a limb stump. Mature tissues adjacent to the amputation surface lose their extracellular matrix and cells re-enter the cell cycle in preparation for stump repair and regeneration of lost parts. At the cellular level a regeneration blastema resembles the original embryonic limb bud that gives rise to the mature limb. Presently, we are examining initial cellular and molecular events in the stump following partial hindlimb amputation in pre-metamorphic and metamorphic Xenopus laevis (African Clawed Frog). Pre-metamorphic tadpoles can regenerate hindlimb parts, while the ability to regenerate declines as the tadpole undergoes metamorphosis. Tadpole hindlimb regeneration provides a natural loss-of-function system that resembles the typical loss of ability to regenerate in vertebrates. We are studying cellular and molecular features of blastemas at the developmental stages and amputation levels where there is predictably “good regeneration” and where there is predictably “poor” regeneration. Blastemas with characteristics most closely resembling limb buds are more likely to regenerate successfully. One hypothesis we are investigating is that the cellular and molecular features of “good” and “poor” blastemas can be used to predict whether a particular blastema will regenerate more or less completely. From our work and the work of other investigators we know that many of the same genes important during embryonic limb development are expressed again during limb regeneration. Patterning factors like sonic hedgehog, Hox genes and Msx, and growth factors like Fgfs are expressed during limb regeneration. Expression of these genes provides cell-signaling centers within limb buds at each developmental stage and similar centers within regeneration blastemas during regeneration. Particular genes may not be expressed or their expression pattern may change when regeneration fail.


    Wolfe, A, Nye, HDL and Cameron, JA. 2000. Extent of ossification at the amputation plane is correlated with the decline of blastema formation and regeneration in Xenopus Laevis hindlimbs. Dev. Dynamics, 218:681-697.
    Chernoff EAG, Stocum DL, Nye HLD, Cameron JA. 2003. Urodele spinal cord regeneration and related processes. Dev. Dynamics 226:295-307.
    Nye HLD, Cameron JA, Chernoff EAG, Stocum DL. 2003. Regeneration of the urodele limb: a review. Dev. Dynamics 226:280-294.
    Wolfe AD, Crimmins G, Cameron, JA, Henry JJ. 2004. Early Regeneration Genes: Building a Molecular Profile for Shared Expression in Cornea-Lens Transdifferentiation and Hind Limb Regeneration in Xenopus laevis. Dev. Dynamics, 230: 615-629.
    Nye, HLD, Cameron JA. 2005. Strategies to Reduce Variation in Xenopus laevis Regeneration Studies. Dev. Dynamics. 234:151-158
    Nandini Rao, Deepali Jhamb, Derek J. Milner, Bingbing Li, Fengyu Song, Mu Wang, S Randal Voss, Mathew Palakal, Michael King, Behnaz Saranjami, Holly L D Nye, Jo Ann Cameron, and David L. Stocum. (2009) Proteomic Analysis of Blastema Formation in Regenerating Axolotl Limbs. BMC Biology, 7:83.
    Jhamb D, Rao N, Milner DJ, Song F, Cameron JA, Stocum DL, Palakal MJ. (2011) Network based transcription factor analysis of regenerating axolotl limbs. BMC Bioinformatics, 12:80.
    Feng, Liang, Derek J. Milner, Chunguang Xia, Holly Nye, Patrick Redwood, Jo Ann Cameron, David L. Stocum, Nick Fang, and Iwona Jasiuk. (2011) Xenopus laevis as a Novel Model to Study Long Bone Critical Size Defect Repair by Growth Factor Mediated Regeneration. Tissue Engineering Part A, 17:691-701.
    Stocum David L and Jo Ann Cameron. (2011) Looking Proximally and Distally: 100 Years of Limb Regeneration and Beyond. Developmental Dynamics, 240:943-968.
    Cameron JA, Milner DJ, Lee JS, Cheng J, NX Fang, Jasiuk IM (2012) Employing the biology of successful fracture repair to heal critical size bone defects. In: DL Stocum and E Heber-Katz (eds) New Perspectives in Regeneration, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.
    Milner DJ, Cameron JA (2012) Muscle Repair and Regeneration: Stem Cells, Scaffolds, and the Contributions of Skeletal Muscle to Amphibian Limb Regeneration. In: DL Stocum and E Heber-Katz (eds) New Perspectives in Regeneration, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.
    Rao N, Song F, Jhamb D, Wang M, Milner DJ, Price NM, Belecky-Adams TL, Palakal MJ, Cameron JA, Li B, Chen X, Stocum DL (2014) Proteomic analysis of fibroblastema formation in regenerating hind limbs of Xenopus laevis froglets and comparison to axolotl. BMC Dev Biol. 14:32. doi: 10.1186/1471-213X-14-32.PMID:25063185