Many animals like the zebrafish, a common aquarium specimen and widely used biomedical research model, possess the remarkable ability to rapidly replace damaged and lost body parts including their limbs, hearts, and nervous systems. Humans and other mammals in contrast have very poor regenerative capabilities.
Scientists in the Davis Center utilize 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. They are also working to identify potential drugs that will reactivate and enhance repair and regenerative processes in humans. Such drugs hold significant potential for treating devastating diseases and injuries and for slowing or reversing the degenerative changes that occur with chronic disease and aging.