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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Upcoming Events

For the safety of our community, the MBL has suspended all public events, seminars, and gatherings on campus through April 15 and has cancelled all scheduled school and organizational tours through May 31. We will carefully reassess the situation in the coming weeks.

Recent Publications

Echeverri, K. (2020) The various routes to functional regeneration in the central nervous system. Communications Biology 3(1):47. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-0773-z

Gilly, W.F., Renken, C., Rosenthal, J.J.C., and Kier, W.M. (2020) Specialization for rapid excitation in fast squid tentacle muscle involves action potentials absent in slow arm muscle. Journal of Experimental Biology 223: jeb218081. https://jeb.biologists.org/content/223/3/jeb218081

Laissue, P.P., Roberson, L., Gu, Y., Qian, C., and Smith, D.J. (2020). Long-term imaging of the photosensitive, reef-building coral Acropora muricata using light-sheet illumination. Scientific Reports 10(1), 10369. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-67144-w

Nakamura, M., Yoshida, H., Takahashi, E., Wlizla, M., Takebayashi-Suzuki, K., Horb, M.E., Suzuki, A. (2020) The AP-1 transcription factor JunB functions in Xenopus tail regeneration by positively regulating cell proliferation. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 522:4 990-995. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2019.11.060

Sabin, K., and Echeverri, K. (2020) The role of the immune system in tissue repair and regeneration of the nervous system. Journal of Immunology and Regenerative Medicine 7, 100023. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.regen.2019.100023

Smith, J.A., Curry, E.G., Blue, R.E., Roden, C., Dundon, S.E.R., Rodríguez-Vargas, A., Jordan, D.C., Chen, X., Lyons, S.H., Crutchley, J., Anderson, P., Horb, M.E., Gladfelter, A.S., and Giudice, J. (2020) FXR1 splicing is important for muscle development and biomolecular condensates in muscle cells. Journal of Cell Biology 219 (4): e201911129. https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201911129

Vallecillo-Viejo, I.C., Liscovitch-Brauer, N., Diaz Quiroz, J.F., Montiel-Gonzalez, M.F., Nemes, S., Rangan, K.J., Levinson, S.R., Eisenberg, E. and Rosenthal, J.J.C. (2020) Spatially regulated editing of genetic information within a neuron. Nucleic Acids Research 48(8):3999-4012. https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkaa172