A Fondness for Regeneration

Summer Science Speaker Series | Nantucket, MAEvery Wednesday this summer, the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) has hosted a new speaker as part of their Summer Science Speaker Series. Astronomers, authors, environmentalists, biologists, professors, and doctors have addressed audiences on a wide variety of subjects.

This Wednesday, August 29, Dr. B. Duygu Özpolat is the featured speaker from 7 to 8 pm at 33 Washington Street. Her talk, “A Worm’s Fondness for Regeneration: A Story in Several Segments” focuses on a worm’s ability to regrow body parts after losing them – even a new brain – making them an interesting species to study.

As many of us know from a young age, when worms are cut into small pieces, many new worms can grow, with each piece becoming its own individual worm. It raises the questions of what cells, genes, and processes are involved in this regeneration and what we, as human beings, can learn from that. The Dumeril’s clam worm (Platynereis dumerilii) and sea stars have the capacity to regenerate; they represent some of the organisms that are helping to answer these fascinating questions. Özpolat will discuss her research and the understanding that worms might bring to the study of regeneration.

The talk is free for MMA members and $10 for non-members.

The following Wednesday, September 5, Nantucket’s Dr. Tim Lepore will speak about “Common and Not So Common Tick-Borne Diseases on Nantucket,” addressing the symptoms of tick-borne diseases, including the less common ones, preventative measures to ward off these diseases and to keep ticks at bay, and treatments of tick-borne diseases.

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization working to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. This year celebrates Mitchell’s 200th birthday with special lectures, events, classes, and exhibits all year-long, culminating in the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium in October 2018 in Boston.