The Sixth Annual New Jersey Stem Cell Research Symposium
Co-sponsored by the Rutgers Stem Cell Research Center, the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey, and Life Technologies, Inc.
The Sixth Annual New Jersey Stem Cell Research Symposium was held on September 19, 2012 at the Bridgewater Marriott. Over 240 scientists were registed for the day-long event including presentations, posters, and exhibits.
Poster Competition Winners Announced
The poster review committee (Nir Nativ, Kara Mann, and Ian Gaudet), under the direction of Dr. Michael Sheldon, selected three most outstanding posters. The winners were:
- Stephani Davis, UMDNJ-RWJ, "PDCD2 controls hematopoietic stem cell differentiation during development"
- Eileen Oni, Rutgers, "Optimizing a cell culture model to study addiction risk-associated gene variants"
- Heather McGowan, UMDNJ-RWJ, "A model for synaptic dysfunction in intellectual disability in Down Syndrome using human neurons"
The Fifth Annual New Jersey Stem Cell Research Symposium was a great success with over 250 scientists attending.
Title: Totipotency, Pluripotency and Growth Factors
Dr. Kiessling is Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation. She holds bachelor's degrees in Nursing and Chemistry, a master's degree in Organic Chemistry and a doctorate in Biochemistry/Biophysics from Oregon State University.
Her postdoctoral research explored relationships between viruses and cancer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and University of California, San Diego. The work in San Diego led to the controversial discovery of Reverse Transcriptase in normal human cells in 1979 (Kiessling & Goulian). Prior to this discovery, it had been assumed that reverse transcriptase was an enzyme found only in retroviruses. To understand the normal biologic role of reverse transcriptase, Dr. Kiessling began to study eggs and early cleaving embryos. Harvard Medical School recruited Dr. Kiessling in 1985, where she continues her research today.
Dr. Kiessling's interest shifted toward stem cell research in 2000, when her expertise in human egg biology led her to develop the country's first human egg donor program for stem cell research. Dr. Kiessling's research at the Foundation is now focused on the development of Parthenote Stem Cells (stem cells derived from unfertilized human eggs), and Neurospheres (an early stage of development of neurons).
Dr. Kiessling has published more than 100 scientific papers and given more than 60 lectures to audiences around the world. Her writings can be found in publications such as Nature, Lancet, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and Connecticut Law Review, and she has been the focus of articles in The Boston Globe and Newsweek. In 2003 (second edition released in 2006), Dr. Kiessling wrote Human Embryonic Stem Cells: An Introduction to the Science and Therapeutic Potential, the first textbook on the controversial topic.
Dr. Kiessling is a current member of the California (California Constitution Article XXXV) and Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Boards, and a member of the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committees (ESCROS) for Harvard University, Joslin Diabetes Center and Children's Hospital.
Sandra Engle, PhD, is a Senior Principal Scientist in the Pluripotent Stem Cell Biology Laboratory of the Primary Pharmacology Group within Pfizer Inc. Her lab currently focuses on the generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells, in vitro differentiation of stem cells to terminally differentiated cell types of interest and the genetic modification of human stem cells in support of drug discovery efforts.
Title: Integrating Human ESC/iPSC Derived Cells into Drug Discovery
- Imperative for incorporating pluripotent stem cell derived cells into drug discovery
- Current applications of pluripotent stem cell derived cells in drug discovery
- Gaps and future directions for use of pluripotent stem cell derived cells in drug discovery
Title: Modeling autism using human induced pluripotent stem cells
Mark Tomishima, PhD, runs the SKI Stem Cell Research Facility at Sloan-Kettering. The facility provides a number of services to the stem cell community such as: teaching culture techniques, cell banking, reprogramming and genetic modification of human pluripotent stem cells (http://stemcells.mskcc.org). His presentation will focus on a major project in the facility attempting to model autism through the use of induced pluripotent stem cell technology.
Title: Directing cell fate for regenerative medicine
Dr. Huangfu’s lab currently focuses on understanding the mechanism of pluripotency reprogramming (the process that generates induced pluripotent stem cells), using human pluripotent stem cells to gain unique insights into human embryonic development, and applying the knowledge to directing cell fates for regenerative medicine. More information about her research can be found from http://www.mskcc.org/research/lab/danwei-huangfu. Dr. Huangfu received her B.S. in Genetics, with honors, from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Cornell University Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences in 2005. She subsequently completed a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Douglas Melton at Harvard University. In September 2010, Dr. Huangfu joined Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as an Assistant Member to study stem cell and developmental biology.
Noemi Fusaki, Ph.D., is Leader of the Cell Engineering Group of DNAVEC Corporation as well as the PRESTO researcher supported by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). She began her independent research in signal transduction in the immune system as an assistant professor at Kansai Medical University and Science University of Tokyo, and then continued as an associate professor at Tokyo Medical and Dental University. Her research then switched to a more clinical direction, focusing on immune therapy at Keio University, and then to regenerative medicine at DNAVEC. As project leader, she has established highly efficient methods for generating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) using non-integrating Sendai virus RNA vectors.
Dr. Fusaki's presentation is titled, "The CytoTune™-iPS Sendai virus reprogramming kit for efficient generation of patient-specific iPS cells." Sendai virus (SeV) vectors are cytoplasmic replicating RNA virus vectors that are not associated with a risk of altering the host genome. Dr. Fusaki has demonstrated that non-transmissible SeV vectors carrying the four reprogramming factors are easy to use and a highly efficient solution for generating safer iPSC from human fibroblasts and blood cells without evoking viral gene integration. The product is now available as CytoTune™-iPS Sendai virus reprogramming kit from Life Technologies. In this talk, Dr. Fusaki will present the mechanism of "zero-footprint" reprogramming and applications of the kit for creating various disease-specific iPSCs.
Dr. Shevde recently joined Life Technologies as the Stem Cell Specialist and Customer Training Manager to lead the stem cell training programs and to promote the company's scientific expertise in the pluripotent stem cell field. She has extensive experience in human pluripotent stem cell research and served as a Senior Scientist and Director of Education at WiCell Research Institute and Morgridge Institute for Research since 2005 until July 2012. Under the scientific leadership of Dr. James Thomson, Rupa developed the Stem Cell Training Course which has served over 800 scientists from 32 US states and 20 countries.
Title: Essential 8™, a new chemically defined, feeder-free culture system and innovations in non-integrating reprogramming.
Dr. Shevde's presentation will focus on the use of a novel, well-defined, xeno-free culture system recently developed at the University of Wisconsin by Dr. James Thomson. Essential 8™ Medium with Vitronectin (VTN-N) substrate provides a defined culture system free of non-human components for robust, cost-effective and scalable pluripotent stem cell cultures. This presentation will also highlight the newest options for non-integrating reprogramming of blood and skin cells including Episomal iPSC Reprogramming Vectors and CytoTune™ Sendai virus.