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.
The stem cells for Ciona regeneration surround perforations in the pharynx.
Electron micrograph showing two synapses within a lamprey giant reticulospinal axon.
The oral siphon and orange pigmented sensory organs (left) regenerate rapidly (straight line indicates the amputation plane) in the tunicate Ciona.
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 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.



Recent Publications

Buchan, J. G., Gray, R. S., Gansner, J. M., Alvarado, D. M., Burgert, L., Gitlin, J. D., Gurnett, C. A., & Goldsmith, M. I. (2014). Kinesin family member 6 (kif6) is necessary for spine development in zebrafish. Dev Dyn, 243(12), 1646-1657. doi:

Busch, D. J., Oliphint, P. A., Walsh, R. B., Banks, S. M., Woods, W. S., George, J. M., & Morgan, J. R. (2014). Acute increase of alpha-synuclein inhibits synaptic vesicle recycling evoked during intense stimulation. Mol Biol Cell, 25(24), 3926-3941. doi:

Jeffery, W. R. (2015). The Tunicate : A Model System for Understanding the Relationship Between Regeneration and Aging. 59(Suppl 1), 17-22. doi:

Noda, N., & Tamm, S. L. (2014). Lithocytes are transported along the ciliary surface to build the statolith of ctenophores. Curr Biol, 24(19), R951-952. doi:

Wühr, M., Freeman Jr., R.M., Presler M., Horb M.E., Peshkin L., Gygi S.P., Kirschner M.W. (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