Planarian flatworms show a lot of promise in neuropharmacological research; they have a well-developed nervous system, including a rudimentary brain, which use virtually every major neurotransmitter system described in mammals, including humans. Additionally, its nervous system shares many structural similarities with vertebrate nervous systems. We use planaria as a model organism to screen for naturally-occurring or synthetic psychoactive compounds. Along the way, we are one of the few research groups worldwide with an interest on characterizing planarian pharmacology.
An important objective of my laboratory is to contribute to the integration of developmental/regeneration biology with pharmacologiy. To date, there is minimal integration between these scientific disciplines. I strongly believe that planarians should be a lead organism to integrate these areas. I published a more extensive account of my rationale in the ’’International Journal of Developmental Biology’’ (please see Pagán, 2017).
If you are interested to know more about research in the Pagán Lab please refer to Dr. Oné R. Pagán's Publications.