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.


MBL-UChicago Neuroscience Workshop

September 14-16, 2015 at MBL

Bell Center Welcomes REU Students for Summer 2015

June 18, 2015 The Bell Center welcomes five undergraduate students who successfully entered the Biological Discovery in Woods Hole… more»

UChicago Metcalf Students to Join Bell Center for Summer Research

March 31, 2015 During the summer of 2015, twelve undergraduates from the University of Chicago will gain substantive, project-based… more»


Recent Publications

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

Colin, S. P., MacPherson, R., Gemmell, B., Costello, J. H., Sutherland, K., & Jaspers, C. (2015). Elevating the predatory effect: Sensory-scanning foraging strategy by the lobate ctenophore M nemiopsis leidyi. Limnology and Oceanography, 60(1), 100–109. doi:10.1002/lno.10007

Gemmell, B. J., Troolin, D. R., Costello, J. H., Colin, S. P., & Satterlie, R. A. (2015). Control of vortex rings for manoeuvrability. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 12(108), 20150389. doi:10.1098/rsif.2015.0389

Highstein, S. M., Mann, M. A., Holstein, G. R., & Rabbitt, R. D. (2015). The quantal component of synaptic transmission from sensory hair cells to the vestibular calyx. Journal of Neurophysiology, 113(10), 3827–3835. doi:10.1152/jn.00055.2015

Lico, D. T. P., Lopes, G. S., Brusco, J., Rosa, J. C., Gould, R. M., De Giorgis, J. A., & Larson, R. E. (2015). A novel SDS-stable dimer of a heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein at presynaptic terminals of squid neurons. Neuroscience, 300, 381–392. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.05.040

Lo, S. Q., Koh, D. X. P., Sng, J. C. G., & Augustine, G. J. (2015). All-optical mapping of barrel cortex circuits based on simultaneous voltage-sensitive dye imaging and channelrhodopsin-mediated photostimulation. Neurophotonics, 2(2), 021013. doi:10.1117/1.NPh.2.2.021013