Michael Levin, David Kaplan
Tufts University investigators propose to develop a new technology for vertebrate limb regeneration based on understanding and manipulating the bioelectrical properties of cells. While most of the field is focused on biochemical and gene networks, they are pioneering the molecular understanding and control of the regulation of limb development by endogenous cellular bioelectrical properties. If successful, the proposed experiments could establish bioelectricity as a central component of development and regeneration. The team will develop pharmacological and genetic techniques for manipulating natural bioelectrical gradients in vivo which will drive gene expression to initiate the regeneration of adult vertebrate limbs following amputation. Based on their findings, the PIs have engineered a unique prototype device called a “biodome” that can fit over a limb amputation site and could function as a bioreactor to promote regenerative repair in amphibians and eventually in rodents. This work could reveal novel pathways of biological regulation for complex tissue repair.
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