Building Capacity in the Bell Center

Federal stimulus funds were received by the MBL in 2009 to initially support the recruitment and/or retention of two faculty members specializing in regenerative biology to the new Bell Center.  This was achieved with the appointment of Mark Messerli and Joel Smith to the Bell Center. Messerli studies the natural mechanisms by which polarity in cells and tissues is formed in hopes of providing a foundation for repairing and rebuilding human tissues. Smith studies how the genetic “blueprint” is used to make the body parts of an animal. Since then, additional faculty members have been retained to help develop pilot research projects in the area of regenerative biology, tissue engineering, and marine genomics that will lay the foundation for this new research center at the MBL.

Marko Horb was recruited from the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal as Director of the National Xenopus Resource (NXR) in 2010 and received a scientific appointment in the Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering.  He uses Xenopus frogs to study the steps and signals that lead to development of the pancreas and other organs.

The successful recruitment of Jennifer Morgan from the University of Texas has added another extraordinary young scientist to the Bell Center.  The recipient of numerous awards, including the University of Texas Regent’s Teaching Award and the Society for Neuroscience Career Development Award, Jennifer is an accomplished neuroscientist working with NIH funding to elucidate the mechanisms of neurodegeneration and regeneration in the vertebrate central nervous system.

Adjunct appointments in the Bell Center have included William Jeffery (University of Maryland), Sid Tamm (Boston University), and Steven Zottoli (Williams College). Jeffery studies the mechanisms of eye degeneration, pigment loss, and the evolution of behavior using the cavefish and ciona models. Tamm investigates basic problems in cell biology and motility using comb jellies (ctenophores) and termite protozoa. Zottoli investigates the neuronalbasis of recovery from complete damage to spinal cords in non-mammalian vertebrates. More recently, Jane Maienschein (ASU), Manfred Laubichler (ASU) and Andrew Miller (HKUST) have joined the Bell Center with adjunct appointments. Maienschein’s research focuses on the history and philosophy of developmental and regenerative biology and Laubichler’s work largely embraces theoretical and evolutionary developmental biology, while Miller investigates the role played by calcium ions in the signal transduction pathways orchestrating embryonic development. In addition, Gary Wessel (Brown) received a  reappointment in the Bell Center as a Senior Adjunct Scientist.

For a synopsis of these Bell Center faculty research highlights in 2012:

In addition to the principal investigators, the Center is staffed by an administrator, postdoctoral scientists and research associates, graduate students, and research assistants.

Administrative Staff

Mary Ann Seifert, Center Coordinator
Rowe 105
7 MBL Street Woods Hole, MA 02543 USA
508-289-7472; fax. 508-289-7599

Briana Currie, NXR Coordinator
Rowe 413
7 MBL Street Woods Hole, MA 02543 USA

Research Staff

Hannah Colwell, NXR Research Assistant I
Deborah Danaher, Research Assistant II
Kyle Fisk, Research Assistant I
Kendra Hanslik, Research Assistant I
Lori Horb, Research Assistant III
Sofia Ibarraran, Postdoctoral Scientist
Hirokazu Ishii, Postdoctoral Scientist
Shane Jinson, Research Assistant I
Sean McNamara, NXR Supervisor
Molly McQuillan, Research Assistant I
Audrey Medeiros, Research Assistant I
Maria Montiel, Research Associate
Deanna Panetta, Research Assistant I
James Parente, NXR Research Assistant I
Corbin Renken, Research Assistant I
Yisrael Schnytzer, Lab Manager
Nikko-Ideen Shaidani, Research Assistant II
Lindsey Soll, Postdoctoral Scientist
William Thomas, Research Assistant I
Mai Thi Tran, Postdoctoral Scientist
Isabel Vallecillo, Research Assistant I
Amitabh Verma, Scientific Informatics Analyst
Lynn Ware, NXR Technician
Marcin Wlizla, NXR Manager