Thinking About Regeneration: What It Is and Why Do We Think We Want It?
Enthusiasm for Regenerative Medicine as therapy for human injury or for Regeneration in agriculture or ecosystems stems from hopes that we can help systems recover after injury. Damaged nerves after an accident? Damaged forest after a fire? Damaged planet from climate change and other over-uses? Surely regeneration will save the day by bringing the system back to what it was before. Or so the rhetoric goes, with scientists seeking ways to promote the regeneration and claim the billions of dollars available for recovery research.
But what is regeneration, really? Is it recovery of the same thing we had before? If so, why do we think we want this type of conservative recovery of sameness? Might we think instead about trying to make things better, perhaps in ways that are more resilient and better than before? What are best ways for thinking about how systems respond to threats?
Jane Maienschein is University Professor, Regents Professor, and President's Professor at Arizona State University, where she also directs the Center for Biology and Society. She is also a Fellow and Director of the History of Science Program at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. An historian and philosopher of cell and developmental biology, she also explores policy and bioethics and is author of a number of books, most recently with Kate MacCord, What is Regeneration?
This event is co-sponsored by the Dept. of Science, Technology, and Society, Academy of Integrated Science and Systems Biology Program, the Center for Humanities, and the Department of History. This series was created in honor of Philosopher and Historian of Biology Richard Burian and Biologist Ann McNabb and highlights a scholar in the history and philosophy of the life sciences.