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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Jordi Solana

Dr Jordi Solana

Senior Lecturer


 Living Systems Institute T03.10


Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD


I am a developmental and computational biologist, specializing in stem cell research and regeneration in invertebrates. I primarily focus on the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Over my career, I've contributed significantly to single-cell transcriptomics, co-leading the first organism-level single-cell atlas. My team has developed innovative methods like ACME for dissociation and combinatorial single-cell transcriptomics, enhancing our understanding of planarian stem cell differentiation. We have also explored stem cells in the regenerating annelid Pristina leidyi and are analysing atlases of various other regenerating organisms. Our future focus is decoding the transcriptional and epigenetic code of invertebrate pluripotent stem cells and their differentiation, contributing to the evolution of animal stem cells. My scientific journey, which began with a Ph.D. at the University of Barcelona, has led me through postdoctoral posts in the UK and Germany, ultimately bringing me to Oxford Brookes University, where I started my independent career, and now to the University of Exeter, where I continue my passion for understanding stem cells and regeneration across the animal kingdom.


2003 – 2008 Ph.D. student at the Department of Genetics of the University of Barcelona.
Advisor: Rafael Romero.
1997 – 2002 B.Sc. in Biology by the University of Barcelona.


2024 – present Senior Lecturer at the Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter, UK
2021 – 2024 Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK
2017 – 2021 David Fell Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK
2014 – 2017 Project PI (DFG Eigenestelle) at Nikolaus Rajewsky’s laboratory, Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Germany
2011 – 2014 Postdoctoral Researcher at Nikolaus Rajewsky’s laboratory, Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Germany.
2009 – 2011 Postdoctoral Researcher at Aziz Aboobaker’s laboratory, Institute of Genetics of the University of Nottingham, UK.

Research group links

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Journal articles

Álvarez-Campos P, García-Castro H, Emili E, Pérez-Posada A, Del Olmo I, Peron S, Salamanca-Díaz DA, Mason V, Metzger B, Bely AE, et al (2024). Annelid adult cell type diversity and their pluripotent cellular origins. Nature communications, 15(1). Abstract.
Álvarez-Campos P, García-Castro H, Emili E, Pérez-Posada A, Salamanca-Díaz DA, Mason V, Metzger B, Bely AE, Kenny N, Özpolat BD, et al (2023). Annelid adult cell type diversity and their pluripotent cellular origins. bioRxiv Abstract.  Author URL.
Garcia-Castro H, Solana J (2022). Single-cell transcriptomics in planaria: new tools allow new insights into cellular and evolutionary features. BIOCHEMICAL SOCIETY TRANSACTIONS  Author URL.
Garcia-Castro H, Kenny NJ, Iglesias M, Alvarez-Campos P, Mason V, Elek A, Schonauer A, Sleight VA, Neiro J, Aboobaker A, et al (2021). ACME dissociation: a versatile cell fixation-dissociation method for single-cell transcriptomics. GENOME BIOLOGY, 22(1).  Author URL.
Krishna S, Palakodeti D, Solana J (2019). Post-transcriptional regulation in planarian stem cells. SEMINARS IN CELL & DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, 87, 69-78.  Author URL.
Plass M, Solana J, Wolf FA, Ayoub S, Misios A, Glazar P, Obermayer B, Theis FJ, Kocks C, Rajewsky N, et al (2018). Cell type atlas and lineage tree of a whole complex animal by single-cell transcriptomics. SCIENCE, 360(6391).  Author URL.
Solana J (2018). RNA in Situ Hybridization on Planarian Paraffin Sections. Methods Mol Biol, 1774, 393-404. Abstract.  Author URL.
Schmidt D, Reuter H, Huettner K, Ruhe L, Rabert F, Seebeck F, Irimia M, Solana J, Bartscherer K (2018). The Integrator complex regulates differential snRNA processing and fate of adult stem cells in the highly regenerative planarian <i>Schmidtea mediterranea</i>. PLOS GENETICS, 14(12).  Author URL.
Solana J, Irimia M, Ayoub S, Rodriguez Orejuela M, Zywitza V, Jens M, Tapial J, Ray D, Morris QD, Hughes TR, et al (2016). Conserved functional antagonism of CELF and MBNL proteins controls stem cell-specific alternative splicing in planarians. ELIFE, 5  Author URL.
Rybak-Wolf A, Solana J (2014). Whole-mount in situ hybridization using DIG-labeled probes in planarian. Methods Mol Biol, 1211, 41-51. Abstract.  Author URL.
Solana J (2013). Closing the circle of germline and stem cells: the Primordial Stem Cell hypothesis. EVODEVO, 4  Author URL.
Jaber-Hijazi F, Lo PJKP, Mihaylova Y, Foster JM, Benner JS, Romero BT, Chen C, Malla S, Solana J, Ruzov A, et al (2013). Planarian MBD2/3 is required for adult stem cell pluripotency independently of DNA methylation. DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, 384(1), 141-153.  Author URL.
Solana J, Gamberi C, Mihaylova Y, Grosswendt S, Chen C, Lasko P, Rajewsky N, Aboobaker AA (2013). The CCR4-NOT Complex Mediates Deadenylation and Degradation of Stem Cell mRNAs and Promotes Planarian Stem Cell Differentiation. PLOS GENETICS, 9(12).  Author URL.
Solana J, Kao D, Mihaylova Y, Jaber-Hijazi F, Malla S, Wilson R, Aboobaker A (2012). Defining the molecular profile of planarian pluripotent stem cells using a combinatorial RNA-seq, RNA interference and irradiation approach. GENOME BIOLOGY, 13(3).  Author URL.
Oenal P, Gruen D, Adamidi C, Rybak A, Solana J, Mastrobuoni G, Wang Y, Rahn H-P, Chen W, Kempa S, et al (2012). Gene expression of pluripotency determinants is conserved between mammalian and planarian stem cells. EMBO JOURNAL, 31(12), 2755-2769.  Author URL.
Solana J, Lasko P, Romero R (2009). <i>Spoltud</i>-<i>1</i> is a chromatoid body component required for planarian long-term stem cell self-renewal. DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, 328(2), 410-421.  Author URL.
Solana J, Romero R (2009). <i>SpolvlgA</i> is a DDX3/PL10-related DEAD-box RNA helicase expressed in blastomeres and embryonic cells in planarian embryonic development. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 5(1), 64-73.  Author URL.
Cardona A, Fernández J, Solana J, Romero R (2005). An in situ hybridization protocol for planarian embryos: monitoring myosin heavy chain gene expression. Dev Genes Evol, 215(9), 482-488. Abstract.  Author URL.

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