How has regeneration been understood, defined, and utilized in scientific research at different scales of living systems, both now and in the past?
The workshop will begin with the premise that all complex living systems 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 conditions. In all instances, while these biological systems undergo stress and damage, their parts can coordinate responses to provide repair. But do we mean the same thing by regeneration in each case? How do regenerating parts “know” how to cooperate to make the individuals and systems healthy and whole again? How does an understanding of one level inform the others? What does regeneration, particularly across levels, mean for conceptions of individuality?
Over the course of two days, participants in the workshop will explore the historical, philosophical, and scientific foundations of regeneration across living systems.