I’m busy co-editing a virtual symposium issue of our journal, The Biological Bulletin on regeneration with my MBL colleague Joel Smith. For loyal readers unfamiliar with regeneration in the biological context, we are referring to the phenomenon whereby certain animals regenerate tissue (limbs and sometimes even brains) either in the natural course of their life cycle or in response to injury.
Regeneration was one of the main concentration areas of Bernie Agranoff’s laboratory at Michigan at the time when I was doing my thesis work under him. The lab model was the goldfish optic nerve, which in response to injury, can completely repair itself.
But that was a long time ago. What has been wonderful about the present virtual symposium as been re-familiarizing myself with a field, that is, if anything, more exciting and relevant today, that it was in the last century, when it was part of my daily science diet.
In particular, I’ve been enjoying reading the work of HHMI scientist Alejandro Alvarado. His work in the area is seminal and he has brought the full power of molecular and cellular biology to the question.