Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering

The ability of many animals to spontaneously regenerate their body parts has intrigued scientific observers for centuries. Although humans share the same basic genes and pathways, we have somehow lost these regenerative capacities, which leads to significant health costs. An understanding of tissue and organ regeneration in lower animals holds great promise for translating to medical treatments for serious human conditions, including spinal cord injury, diabetes, organ failure, and degenerative neural diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The MBL is uniquely positioned to move this biomedical research goal forward in the new Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering. The Bell Center, which was established in 2010, was made possible by transformative leadership gifts, including $8 million from Millicent Bell, and $5 million from John W. and Valerie Rowe. It is a key element of the Catalyst Campaign to raise $125M in support for research and education at the MBL. Learn more about Millicent Bell, John and Valerie Rowe , and how you can help.

MBL researchers have studied regeneration in marine and other animals for more than a century, building expertise that will flourish and grow in the Bell Center. A cornerstone of the Bell Center is a new, national resource for research on the frog, Xenopus, which possesses unique regenerative abilities and is a major animal model used in U.S. biomedical research. The National Xenopus Resource (NXR) at the MBL is funded by the National Institutes of Health. In 2011 we recruited Marko Horb, a scientist whose foundational research explores the basic biology behind the repair and regeneration of damaged tissues and organs. Horb was also appointed Director of the NXR, which is now fully functional and stocked with frogs used by researchers who study disease, aging, and regenerative medicine.

The Bell Center is also part of the Brown University/Marine Biological Laboratory Parnership, which includes a joint Graduate Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences. Faculty in the Bell Center may receive a joint appointment at Brown through the Brown-MBL Partnership, and may also receive a joint appointment at the Harvard University Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology.

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Recent Publications

Wühr M1, Freeman Jr. RM1, Presler M, Horb ME, Peshkin L, Gygi SP, Kirschner MW (2014) Deep Proteomics of the Xenopus laevis Egg using an mRNA-Derived Reference Database. Curr. Biol. 24: 1467–1475, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.05.04

Chowanadisai, W., Graham, D.M., Keen, C.L., Rucker R.B., Messerli, M.A. 2013A zinc transporter gene required for development of the nervous system. Commun. Int. Biol. 2013: 6:e26207

Graham, D.M., Huang, L. Robinson, K.R. and Messerli, M.A. 2013 Epidermal keratinocyte polarity and motility require Ca2+ influx through TRPV1. J. Cell Sci. 126:4602-4613.

Helm, R. R., Siebert, S., Tulin, S., Smith, J., Dunn, C. Characterization of differential transcript abundance through time during Nematostella vectensis development. BMC Genomics.14(1):266, 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23601508

Hinaux, H., Poulain, J. Da Silva, C., Noirot, C., Jeffery, W. R., Casane, D., and S. Retaux, (2013). De novo sequencing of Astyanax mexicanus surface fish and Pachon cavefish transcriptomes reveals enrichment of mutations in putative cavefish eye genes. PLoS ONE 8(1): e53553. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053553.s

Lau BY, Fogerson SM, Walsh RB, Morgan J.R. Cyclic AMP promotes axon regeneration, lesion repair and neuronal survival in lampreys after spinal cord injury. Exp Neurol. 2013. Volume 250, December 2013, Pages 31–42. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24041988