Scientists in the Davis Center use diverse animal models and cell systems to define the genetic mechanisms underlying tissue repair and regeneration and how the activity of various genes influences lifespan. Choosing the best animal model for every experiment is a cornerstone of the research approach taken by Davis Center scientists.
For example, the zebrafish, a common aquarium specimen, possesses the remarkable ability to rapidly replace damaged and lost body parts including limbs, heart, and nervous system, making it an ideal model for defining the genetic mechanisms of regeneration and healing and for identifying drug candidates for use in regenerative medicine. The tiny roundworm C. elegans shares over 40% of its genetic information with humans and its short lifespan makes it especially well-suited for defining genes that influence healthy lifespan.
Research in the Davis Center is designed to lead to the identification of therapies that will enhance repair and regenerative processes in humans. Such therapies hold significant potential for treating devastating diseases and injuries and for slowing or reversing the degenerative changes that occur with chronic disease and aging. In 2013, the Davis Center was designated a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health.