“Dr Levin is a researcher from Tufts University in Massachusetts, whose work focuses on organ placement in the body.
He believes that his work could soon extend beyond animals and into humans. For example, it could allow soldiers to regrow arms on the battlefield if lost to a bomb…
In 2013, Dr Levin surgically removed the eyes of donor tadpoles and grafted them onto the backs of recipient tadpoles, which induced the growth of ectopic - or abnormally placed - eyes. Recipient tadpoles had their natural eyes removed, so only the ectopic, spinal cord-connected eyes remained.
Dr Levin said: ‘The [tadpole’s] ability to see when ectopic eyes are connected to spinal cord and not directly to the brain was stunning.
‘A primary goal in medicine is to one day be able to restore the function of damaged or missing sensory structures through the use of biological or artificial replacement components…’
Another of Dr Levin’s experiments in 2015 saw free-living flatworms growing specific head shapes and brains characteristic of other species of flatworm, and the changes were beyond skin deep.
By interrupting protein channels called gap junctions, which pass electrical signals between cells, Dr Levin changed the distribution of the worm’s adult stem cells, along with the shape of the head and brain.
‘It is commonly thought that the sequence and structure of chromatin - material that makes up chromosomes - determine the shape of an organism, but these results show that the function of physiological networks can override the species-specific default anatomy,’ said Dr Levin.
‘By modulating the connectivity of cells via electrical synapses, we were able to derive head morphology and brain patterning belonging to a completely different species from an animal with a normal genome…’
Most recently in May 2016, Dr Levin used lasers to reprogram tumour cells to become harmless again.
Cancer cells emit 'faulty’ electrical signals, that leads them to divide uncontrollably.
Dr Levin used gene therapy to make these cells 'light-sensitive’ meaning lasers could then alter their cancer-causing signals.
But Dr Levin has bigger hopes for regenerative medicine.
He told Popular Science: 'The endgame of this field is complete specification of shape.
'You’d be able to sit down on a computer, like in Photoshop, and draw what you want, and out it comes.
'If you said, “I want a triangular frog with seven legs, and the eyes should be over here,” I don’t see any reason you couldn’t do that…’
I heard about your campaign for governor and want to know what I can do to help from out of state, even if it's just to advance your agenda in other states (more eyes)