Dr Michaela Frye began her research career in molecular ecology and evolution , working with snails, before a shift to cystic fibrosis for her PhD research. After her PhD she worked as a post-doc with Fiona Watt at a Cancer Research UK (CRUK) research institute in London. In 2007 she was awarded a CRUK career development fellowship to set up a group at the Wellcome Trust - MRC Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge, where she is now a senior research fellow. We spoke to Michaela at the Hydra Stem Cell Sumer School earlier this year, where she gave a lecture on epigenetic regulation of differentiation and development.
Elena Cattaneo reports on recent research that examines how a particular type of cell develops in the human brain, and how studies like this fit into the overall picture of research collaboration and funding, in Italy and in Europe.
It took 4 years of continuous experiments of 17 researchers from 6 groups in 2 European countries to understand more about how cells develop in the striatum. The striatum is the area of the brain that degenerates in Huntington’s disease (HD) – a neurological disorder that as of today, has no cure. This work, led by my group at the University of Milan, was published in Nature Neuroscience on 10 Nov 2014.
Two recent studies have revealed for the first time how to to generate insulin producing cells, that resemble normal beta cells, in the lab from human pluripotent stem cells. This provides a step forward for a potential cell therapy treatment for diabetes. But how alike are these cells to the beta cells found in our bodies? How close are we to testing these cells in diabetics? And what other questions still remain? In this commentary, Henrik Semb tackles these questions providing perspective in this complex and challenging field.