MDI Biological Laboratory – Lead Institution

The MDI Biological Laboratory leads the Maine INBRE. The Institution is located in Salisbury Cove, Maine, on the shores of Frenchman Bay in the Gulf of Maine. Founded in 1898, the Institution is internationally recognized for biomedical research leading to advances in human health. Research at the MDI Biological Laboratory is based on the premise that comparative studies of a range of evolutionarily diverse organisms with unique environmental adaptations provide important biological insights. The major research focus is the biology of tissue regeneration and aging, and how those processes are both genetically regulated and shaped by the environment. In addition to being the lead institution in the Maine INBRE, MDI Biological Laboratory is has been designated an NIH-NIGMS Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Tissue Repair, Regeneration and Aging.

Diversity is at the very core of the MDI Biological Laboratory, among both its scientists and the organisms they study. The Institution attracts students from a broad range of educational backgrounds, who interact with and receive mentoring from an interdisciplinary, collaborative faculty working with a wide variety of model organisms ranging from the tiny roundworm C. elegans to zebrafish and salamanders, among others. Non-mammalian animals provide powerful models for studying how embryos develop, how adult animals regenerate new organs and limbs, and how those processes are affected by environmental stress.

The MDI Biological Laboratory is unique in providing the opportunity for scientists and students at all levels to interact daily in an intense, close-knit setting, cooperatively directing their efforts to the solution of fundamental biological problems. INBRE allows the Institution to offer its established research and training opportunities to a broader student and faculty population within Maine. Institution training courses, symposia, and fellowships provide research experience and training to students at all levels, from high school and college through medical school.

Educational experiences are always hands-on and engage students in meaningful research. The MDI Biological Laboratory provides a hub for core research resources and enhanced education for students from INBRE Undergraduate Partner Institutions.

Faculty of the MDI Biological Laboratory serve as mentors for undergraduate summer research fellowships and academic year internships, and lead many INBRE laboratory training sessions. They also serve as adjunct faculty for the UMaine’s Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering, which is building a critical pipeline of students becoming the state’s future researchers.