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2020 Seminar: Regeneration Again

May 14th – 19th, 2020 
Travel Days: May 13th & May 20th
Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA

The History of Biology Seminar 2020 is postponed until further notice

The 2020 seminar focused on Regeneration on all scales. As we noted then:

All living systems, from microbial communities, to organisms, to ecosystems, maintain some capacity to repair and to maintain themselves in the face of events that cause disturbances or damage. For example, microbial communities can regenerate to achieve the same function even as species composition changes, spinal neurons in a lamprey can regenerate function even though their cellular wiring changes, and ecosystems can maintain a level of resiliency in the face of changing climate conditions. In all instances, while these biological systems undergo stress and damage, their parts can coordinate responses to provide repair. But does the concept of regeneration mean the same thing in each case? How do the regenerating parts “know” how to cooperate to make the participating individuals and systems healthy and whole again? How does an understanding of one level inform the others? Is there an underlying logic of regeneration across complex living systems? These are the driving questions for this seminar.

 The 2019 seminar reinforced that these are important questions, and provided suggested approaches to answering them. The 2020 MBL-ASU History of Biology Seminar will continue working on these key questions by bringing together a mix of historians, philosophers, social scientists, and biologists for a lively and intense week of presentations, discussions, and explorations. This year, we plan to focus especially on ways to connect across different scales of life. In what ways do the explanations or models from understanding individual organisms inform understanding of, say microbial communities and ecosystems, for example? Each level involves a complex system, so we will ask what those systems share and what they do not.  

 We will pick up on the previous discussions, and will workshop ideas for presentation and publication as products of the James S. McDonnell Foundation Initiative. Priority for participation will be given to those returning from the 2019 seminar and those working on issues directly related to regeneration.

  MBL-ASU 2020 Seminar Organizers:

  Jane Maienschein, Arizona State University and Marine Biological Laboratory

 James Collins, Arizona State University

  MBL-ASU Seminar DirectorsJohn Beatty, University of British Columbia; James   Collins, Arizona State University; Jane Maienschein, Arizona State University; Karl Matlin,   University of Chicago    


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