If A Starfish Can Grow A New Arm, Why Can't I? The Starfish Exhibit
What's It All About!!
Tissue Engineering. A phrase that is exciting, mysterious, and controversial. From better skin grafts for burn victims to entire replacement body parts grown in laboratories, this science holds great promise for future generations.
This exhibition presents the basic sciences behind this complex topic and gives some real-world perspectives and applications so that visitors to the science center can become familiar with developments happening today.
Download“If a Starfish Can Grow a New Arm, Why Can’t I?” Exhibit Opening Day (10/17/2009) Presentation
Read All About It--Carnegie Online: Regenerative Medicine--A Growing Future
Carnegie Science Center Exhibit Website
FREE Teacher Pass to Carnegie Science Center
VIDEO LINK: Stem Cell Basics
VIDEO LINK: Meet Dr. Stephen Badylak, deputy director, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Education Goals and Approach
The educational objective of this exhibit is to familiarize students in grades 6–8 and other visitors with the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Depending on which areas of the exhibit they have the time and desire to visit, visitors should be able to relate several of the following key points:
• All living things are composed of cells.
• Cells have specialized functions.
• Groups of cells working together form specialized tissues, such as muscle, nerve, and connective (such as bone and cartilage) tissues.
• Groups of tissues combine to form organs.
• Some less complex animals, like our headliner the starfish (or sea star), can regenerate major parts of their bodies.
• More complex animals, including humans, can regenerate, but this is limited to smaller parts of our bodies (like blood, hair, and fingernails).
• A distinguishing feature of animals that can regenerate tissue after injury—like the starfish—is the formation of the blastema, a zone of progenitor cells, at the injury site.
• How the blastema grows to produce a replica of the missing part is one of the most alluring aspects of regeneration.
• Several biological, engineering, chemical, and medical science disciplines combine to make up the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
• The possibility of growing replacement human tissues to construct an organ outside the body is a relatively new development, but it is exciting and happening today in Pittsburgh!
• The future of tissue engineering and stem cell research holds great promise for us as a new way for doctors to treat illnesses and injuries.
• As with all biomedical advances, there are ethical considerations with tissue engineering and stem cell research, as well as myths and misinformation.
The exhibition is divided into three sections:
The Natural WorldThis set of four activities explores the basic biology of cells—their form, purpose, abilities, and specializations.
The Science of Tissue EngineeringThree activity areas let you learn about some of the research going on today and try your hand at some cool virtual experiments.
Clinical Applications, Ethics, Issues, and AnswersHear first-hand leading researchers talk about tissue engineering applications today and in the future, find answers to commonly asked questions, and register your opinions on some of the ethical issues involved in tissue engineering and stem cell research.