Wistar Scientist Invited To Speak On Regeneration At National Meeting Of American Association For The Advancement Of Science

Philadelphia -- Ellen Heber-Katz, Ph.D., a professor and immunologist at The Wistar Institute, has been invited to speak at the 165th national meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Her presentation on The Genetics of Tissue Repair and Regeneration in Mice will be one of only seven science topical lectures designed to highlight emerging and innovative research. Prior to her presentation, Dr. Heber-Katz will participate in a 50-minute news briefing with reporters.

The AAS meeting and Science Innovation Exposition will be held from February 12-17, 1998 in Philadelphia -- where its first meeting was held 150 years ago. It is the scientific community's most visible forum for increasing the public's understanding of science.

Dr. Heber-Katz's presentation will focus on the mouse she and her research team discovered, which is the first potentially useful model for studying epimorphic (limb) regeneration in humans.

Until now, it has been possible to study regeneration only in amphibians, which are biologically, genetically and immunologically different from mammals. "Despite those limitations," says Dr. Heber-Katz, "there has been impressive work done by amphibian biologists. They laid out the basic biological road map for the study of regeneration."

Dr. Heber-Katz's discovery of the healer mouse occurred five years ago, when her laboratory was using different autoimmune mouse models to study multiple sclerosis. As a way of painlessly and permanently separating one group of immunized mice from the others, Dr. Heber-Katz's staff pierced their ears, a standard laboratory method for identifying groups. Within weeks, however, the holes had closed. The researchers, thinking they had made a mistake, re-pierced their ears. Again, the holes closed with full replacement of the epidermis, dermis and cartilage, and with no evidence of scarring.

"At first" explains Dr. Heber-Katz, "it wasn't clear if we had a mod

Contact: Diana Cutshall
(215) 898-3716
The Wistar Institute

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