Many salamanders regenerate their severed arms.

“But if the above-mentioned animals, either aquatic or amphibious, recover their legs, even when kept on dry ground, how comes it to pass, that other land animals, at least such as are commonly accounted perfect, and are better known to us, are not endued with the same power? Is it to be hoped they may acquire them by some useful dispositions? and should the flattering expectation of obtaining this advantage for ourselves be considered entirely as chimerical?”

Lazzaro Spallanzani, 1768

Lazzarro Spallanzani (1729 – 1799) was an Italian priest and scientist. A pioneer of regeneration research, he described how newt salamanders regenerate their limbs and frogs regenerate their tails. Today, his legacy remains relevant as scientists seek to understand regeneration in animals.

The Mexican axolotl is a water-dwelling salamander with an amazing ability to regenerate its body parts. The Monaghan lab at Northeastern University studies how axolotls regrow severed limbs and repair injured organs. Our goal is to understand the cellular and molecular underpinnings of regeneration so that this knowledge can one day be applied to treating injuries and disease in humans.

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

The Monaghan lab
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115