From late-nineteenth century research seeking the existence of neurons in coelenterates, to present-day studies on lamprey spinal cords, the exploration of nerve cell regeneration has always had a place both at the MBL and in the history of the “neuro” disciplines writ large. We seek to understand how this problem has factored into neurobiological research programs over time. We are interested in the changing epistemological statuses of certain organisms and preparations as models, such as squid giant axons for conserved neurological functions and perturbed lamprey giant synapses for mechanistic understandings of neurodegenerative diseases. How have aquatic invertebrates and vertebrates differed in their epistemological and experimental contributions to neurobiology, particularly given their unusual capacities for neuronal regeneration? And how can we characterize the crucial roles of these less “standard” experimental organisms in neurobiology, both today and in the past?
Working Group Members: Fabio de Sio (Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf), Pamela Imperadore (Association for Cephalopod Research, Naples)
Featured image courtesy of Jennifer Morgan’s laboratory.