Carnegie Science Center Exhibit Explores Tissue Regeneration
Loeffler, William, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The title is playful.
But the issues behind a new exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center are as serious as a wheelchair.
"If a Starfish Can Grow a New Arm, Why Can't I?" explores the frontiers of regenerative tissue engineering, from basic cell biology to innovations by researchers here in Pittsburgh. Their discoveries someday might allow doctors to regrow an amputated limb or reverse the effects of Alzheimer's.
The permanent exhibit, which opens Saturday, uses videos, touch screens, puzzles and text to explore tissue regeneration in nature and the quest by science to apply this knowledge.
At Thursday's unveiling, Science Center co-directors Ann Metzger and Ron Baillie pointed out Pittsburgh's eminence as a center of tissue-engineering research. The "Starfish" exhibit is meant to acquaint children and adults with the riches in their own backyard, and perhaps inspire some kids to pursue regenerative medicine as a career.
"It's just another example of Pittsburgh taking the lead in taking complex concepts of science and making them accessible to the general public," Baillie said.
The exhibit is expected to draw 500,000 visitors per year.
The first part of "Starfish" explores stem cells and their remarkable ability to follow chemical signals to an injured part of the human body. And while stem cells help us regenerate skin, repair a broken bone or replace a liver over a lifetime, they've also enabled some 6-year-olds to regrow a fingertip. …