MBL Friday Evening Lecture – "100 Years On From Spemann and Mangold," Richard Harland

Friday, June 28, 2019 - 8:00pm
Lillie Auditorium 7 MBL Street Woods Hole, MA

One of the most influential experiments in the history of embryology was the Spemann Mangold Organizer experiment (1924), where a small piece of light pigmented newt embryo, taken from the dorsal side of the gastrula, was implanted into the ventral side of a differently pigmented host. In the cross-species chimera, the light-colored graft self-differentiated as midline cells, mostly notochord, while the darkly pigmented host responded to signals from the graft to generate a properly patterned nervous system. The techniques of cross species grafts were developed over a century ago, and enabled the source of signals and identity of responsive cells to be definitively determined. While graduate student Hilde Mangold did not live to see her work published, Hans Spemann went on to win the Nobel prize for the work. The phenomenon of neural induction—the process by which embryonic epidermal cells make a decision to instead become neural cells—became a subject of fascination for embryologists, but the problem was difficult to address given the techniques available in the mid 20th century. In the 1990s, advances in molecular biology enabled embryologists to isolate the genes that are active in the organizer, determine how they induce the nervous system, and how they set up its head to tail fates. Concentrating on work from his lab, Dr. Harland will review the experiments that led to our current understanding of induction of the nervous system in his talk titled, "100 Years On From Spemann and Mangold."

Richard Harland is the CH Li Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches developmental biology to both undergraduate and graduate students. He has been a member of the Marine Biological Laboratory Embryology course faculty since 1997, including serving as course co-director from 2002 to 2006. Dr. Harland has conducted significant research in developmental biology.



For more information, visit mbl.edu/FEL.