Every time we were at dinner with Paolo Bianco we would end up having vivid discussions. It was normal to disagree with Paolo. But we can also say it was a pleasure. Not just because these disagreements did not affect our friendship (although sometimes they would suspend it for a few months), but for the fact that we shared the ethical value of scientific research and experimental methodology.
Paolo Bianco, scientist and defender of the anti-Stamina movement, passed away Saturday at the age of sixty. Here are the memories of colleague, friend and senator for life, Elena Cattaneo.
“We shall never surrender.” I often heard Paolo say these famous words first spoken by Churchill. He would cite them when our conversations ended up remembering the lessons of the courageous men of the past and the vision of those who made History. He would cite them when our discussions shifted to the role science should have (but does not have enough) in our society.
Did you follow the social media chat about #astemcellscientistbecause in the lead up to Stem Cell Awareness Day 2015 (14 October)?
It was fascinating to hear the many and varied reasons people have chosen to work in this field and study stem cells.
From the moment we began to unlock the secrets of the genome, the complete set of DNA including all genes and understand the effects that genes can have on human health, the idea of modifying the human genome – and hence controlling these effects – has held both promise and peril. Visions of a bright future free from the sufferings of genetic disease contrast starkly with darker fears of a genetically-engineered ‘Brave New World’.
The phrase “stem cell research” often sparks a reaction - from both the science community and the wider public. Stem cell research is still an emerging science, and understandably is surrounded by many myths and misconceptions. We decided to tackle some of these head on, as part of Stem Cell Awareness Day on October 14.
Dr Malin Parmar and colleagues concisely describe in an ACNR review efforts over the past 30 years to develop a treatment for Parkinson’s disease patients that replaces destroyed nerve cells in the brain. Many different approaches are being taken, from brain cell transplants to using pluripotent stem cells. Now, a technology called ‘direct neural conversion’ can be added to the arsenal of tools researchers are using.
Last weekend, programmers, artists and games developers were invited to the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute for a 48hr game jam. The ‘Game Lab’ competitors were offered a crash course in stem cell biology, including a hands-on tour of the laboratories. They then had 48 hours to create a new computer game on the theme ‘Destiny & Decisions’ in stem cell research.
PhD students, Maria Lima, Carlos Neves and Silvia Mazzotta, from the University of Aberdeen talk about their experience of using some of EuroStemCell's engagement resources in the north of Scotland. The event was part of "Explorathon", a series of activities which were carried out as part of European Researchers Night.
October is a busy and exciting month in the stem cell world. As well as lots of great events - check out our events calendar to find out what's on - Stem Cell Awareness Day arrives in the middle of the month, on 14 October. There's more information about the day on the CIRM website, and we encourage scientists on social media to share what their #stemcellday looks like.