Research on the mechanisms of regeneration of the nervous system is providing exciting new approaches to the repair of damage to the nervous system. I study the nervous system of a snail as a model system in which to learn ways to promote effective recovery following brain damage. In the snail, connections and behaviors are restored during regeneration, and the snail can also generate new nerve cells to rebuild portions of the nervous system that are lost. I and my students use videotaping to document behavioral changes, neurotransmitter immunocytochemistry to characterize anatomical repair, and markers for cell division to document miotic activity in regenerating tissues. I am also interested in blood-borne factors that can promote regeneration and the ability of transplanted nervous tissue to induce extra tentacles and eyes.
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