Faculty Advisor

Gibson, Daniel Gilbert


The basic behavior and identity of recently discovered "spore-like cells" were studied. New ways of isolating and differentiating relatively relatively pure samples of spore-like cells were developed. They were found to be located both in the extracellular matrix as well as inside of cells. Spore-like cells from seven different species ranging from invertebrates to mammals were studied. New developmental pathways seems to have been discovered. Spore-like cells from frozen neural tissue were grown and differentiated into nerve cells. Electrically active Aplysia nerve cells that fired spontaneously and developed complex and organized neural networks in vitro were grown from spore-like cells. The electrophysical characteristics including the action potentials of these cells was studied. Neural tissue grown from spore-like cells from other species including mammals also seemed to develop neural networks in vitro. Spore-like cells were found to develop support structures for cells in vitro, and also appeared to exchange DNA between themselves, including spore-like cells from different species. Heart, kidney, and liver tissues were also grown to some degree from spore-like cells in vitro.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2002


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology