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.

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Akkaynak, D., Siemann, L.A., Barbosa, A., and Mäthger, L.M. 2017. Changeable camouflage: how well can flounder resemble the colour and spatial scale of substrates in their natural habitats? Royal Society Open Science 4, 160824. doi:

Allen, J.J., Akkaynak, D., Schnell, A., and Hanlon, R.T. 2017. Dramatic fighting by male cuttlefish for a female mate. American Naturalist 190 (1), 144-151. doi: 10.1086/692009

Ferrick-Kiddie, E.A., Rosenthal, J.J.C., Ayers, G.D., and Emeson, R.B. 2017. Mutations underlying Episodic Ataxia type-1 antagonize Kv1.1 RNA editing. Scientific Reports 7, 41095. doi: 10.1038/srep41095

Gibaud, T., Kaplan, C.N., Sharma, P., Zakhary, M.J., Ward, A., Oldenbourg, R., Meyer, R.B., Kamien, R.D., Powers, T.R., and Dogic, Z. 2017. Achiral symmetry breaking and positive Gaussian modulus lead to scalloped colloidal membranes. PNAS 114, E3376-E3384. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1617043114

Imai, R., Nozaki, T., Tani, T., Kaizu, K., Hibino, K. Ide, S., Tamura, S., Takahashi, K., Shribak, M., and Maeshima, K. 2017. Density imaging of heterochromatin in live cells using orientation-independent-DIC microscopy. Molecular Biology of the Cell. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E17-06-0359 /21/mbc.E17-06-0359.abstract

Morgan, J.R. 2017. “Ch. 22: Spinal cord repair and regeneration.” Regenerative Engineering and Developmental Biology: Principles and Applications. Edited by David Gardiner. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC; Boca Raton, FL. p. 477-497.

Pearl, E., Morrow, S., Noble, A., Lerebours, A., Horb, M., and Guille, M. 2017. An optimized method for cryogenic storage of Xenopus sperm to maximise the effectiveness of research using genetically altered frogs. Theriogenology. 92, 149-155. (PMC5340284)

Ratzan, W., Falco, R., Salanga, C., Salanga, M., and Horb, M.E. 2017. Generation of a Xenopus laevis F1 albino J strain by genome editing and oocyte host transfer. Developmental Biology 426, 188-193 (PMC5025372)