Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering

Cross-section of a lamprey spinal cord stained with toluidine blue. Note the large size of the giant axons in the ventromedial tract.
Confocal image of a lamprey giant axon (green) injected with phalloidin to label synapses. Axon is making synapses with a spinal motor neuron (red).
Orange pigmented sensory organs surrounding the edge of the oral siphon in the tunicate Ciona.
The oral siphon and orange pigmented sensory organs (left) regenerate rapidly (straight line indicates the amputation plane) in the tunicate Ciona.
The stem cells for Ciona regeneration surround perforations in the pharynx.
Electron micrograph showing two synapses within a lamprey giant reticulospinal axon.


The Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering was established in 2010 through the extraordinary leadership gifts of Millicent Bell and John and Valerie Rowe. Research in the Bell Center is intended to elucidate the molecular, genetic and cellular mechanisms underlying the growth and replacement of highly differentiated tissues during development, physiological turnover and repair following injury. These processes are critical to human health and biology and have been the focus of elegant studies in a myriad of model organisms at the Laboratory since the pioneering work of MBL scientists Thomas Hunt Morgan and Jacques Loeb.

Utilizing unique and highly tractable marine and aquatic model organisms, high throughput and comparative genetic approaches, novel imaging technologies and the latest advances in data-intensive computational analysis, scientists in the Bell Center, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Chicago and the Argonne National Laboratory, are providing answers to some of the most fundamental and intriguing questions in biology. From the control of cellular energetics to the processes of organ development and spinal cord regeneration these transformative discoveries are allowing new insights into the basic mechanisms of tissue growth, repair and regeneration in all metazoans and will permit novel approaches to the understanding, treatment and prevention of human disease.


Advanced Imaging Workshop for Xenopus

November 15th to November 21st, 2015
at the Marine Biological Laboratory
Woods Hole, MA
Instructors John Wallingford..

How Does a Highly Efficient Swimmer Move? Jellyfish, Lamprey Study Reveals Surprising Forces At Play

November 6th, 2015
Millions of years ago, even before plate tectonics had nudged the continents into their current locations, jellyfish were... more»

Marine Animal Colony is a Multi-Jet Swimming Machine

October 14th, 2015
Marine animals that swim by jet propulsion, such as squid and jellyfish, are not uncommon. But it’s rare... more»

Recent Publications

Costello JH, Colin SP, Gemmell BJ, Dabiri JO and Sutherland KR (2015) Multi-jet propulsion organized by clonal development in a colonial siphonophore. Nature Communications 6:8158 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9158

Min, K. A., Rajeswaran, W. G., Oldenbourg, R., Harris, G., Keswani, R. K., Chiang, M., Rzeczycki, P. Talattof, A. Hafeez, M. Horobin,R. W. Larsen, S. D. Stringer, K. A., Rosania, G. R. (2015). Massive Bioaccumulation and Self-Assembly of Phenazine Compounds in Live Cells. Advanced Science, 2(8). doi: 10.1002/advs.201500025

Kingston, A. C. N., Wardill, T. J., Hanlon, R. T., & Cronin, T. W. (2015). An Unexpected Diversity of Photoreceptor Classes in the Longfin Squid, Doryteuthis pealeii. PloS One, 10(9), e0135381. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135381

Salanga, M. C., & Horb, M. E. (2015). Xenopus as a Model for GI/Pancreas Disease. Current Pathobiology Reports, 3(2), 137–145. doi:10.1007/s40139-015-0076-0

Kingston, A.C.N., Kuzirian, A.M., Hanlon, R.T. & Cronin, T.W.  (2015). Visual phototransduction components in cephalopod chromatophores suggest dermal photoreception. Journal of Experimental Biology 218(10), 1596-1602. doi:10.1242/jeb.117945