Target: Leonid Moroz, researcher with the University of Florida
Goal: Applaud the research team’s advances in our understanding of brain function and repair
According to the United Nations, roughly 1 billion people worldwide suffer from neurological diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, migraines and epilepsy. These brain disorders claim the lives of millions of people every year. Groundbreaking research from the University of Florida may be our best shot at helping the human brain repair itself–and in the process the discoveries have re-written the story of evolution.
Until recently scientists believed that the ocean sponges were the earliest animals to evolve. But research into comb jellies–tiny sea creatures just a few cells thick–now suggests that they may have evolved even earlier. This would be an incredible discovery on its own, but the University of Florida research team also observed comb jellies’ incredible ability to regenerate an “elementary brain” unlike that found in any other life-form.
Lead researcher Leonid Moroz posed a startling question: “What if we could not only slow the progressions of Parkinson’s or memory loss in aging, but reverse it?” His team’s dedication brings us one step closer to this reality. Applaud the scientists’ incredible advances in the understanding of evolution and the potential for brain regeneration.
Dear Mr. Moroz,
Congratulations to you and your team at the University of Florida for your incredible work improving our understanding of evolution and neuroscience. Much of the world is unaware of the existence of comb jellies, let alone their potential to lead us to treatments for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s–but that may soon change.
The announcement of your discoveries has been seven years in the making, drawing on the expertise of scientists both from the University of Florida and around the world. To finally be able to share this work with the public must be indescribable, one of the high points of your career and quite possibly of your life. And the best may be yet to come. The next steps in this research could help us understand how to regenerate diseased brain tissue, leading to treatments or even cures for the roughly one billion people currently living with neurological disorders. All this, and to top it off you’ve essentially changed the story of evolution as we know it.
I wish you and your colleagues all the best as you continue your work, both with the comb jelly and in unrelated projects. Scientists like you inspire hope, and inspire today’s young people to contemplate careers in science which will therefore lead to further advances in medicine and our understanding of the world around us.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bruno C. Vellutini via Wikimedia Commons