Salamander could hold answer to regeneration questions



Prayag Murawala, PH.D.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MDI BIOLOGICAL LABORATORY

BAR HARBOR — The first experiment demonstrating the capacity of an axolotl limb to regenerate was conducted almost 250 years ago by Lazzaro Spallanzani in 1768.  

Since then, many generations of scientists have spent millions of dollars and entire careers studying axolotl limb regeneration. Each has added their own small part to the complex puzzle of why these unusual salamanders can regrow limbs and organs.  

Despite the investment of both time and money into salamander research, scientists still have a distance to go to fully answer the question, “If they can regenerate, why can’t we?”  

The topic of the MDI Science Café for Monday, Aug. 23, will be “Behind the Scenes: Axolotl Limb Regeneration,” presented by MDI Biological Laboratory assistant professor, Prayag Murawala, Ph.D. 

Murawala will use axolotl limb regeneration as a case study to explain why the science community remains obsessed with limb regeneration, how much progress has been made and what lies ahead. 

Murawala joined MDI Biological Laboratory in 2020 from a post-doctoral fellowship at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria, where he worked with Elly Tanaka, Ph.D., who is considered the world’s foremost investigator of limb and spinal cord regeneration. 

Those interested in attending this virtual event are asked to register online in advance at mdibl.org/events. Presentation details will be sent the morning of the event.  

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