The latest stem cell news, interviews, blogs and commentary

Clare Blackburn awarded prize for excellence with impact

With the drive for excellence in public engagement gaining momentum in the UK over the last 5 years, the UK Research Councils have teamed up to launch  the Excellence with Impact competition. 

Evaluating the stem cell comic: Hope Beyond Hype

My degree project saw me in 2014 completing an evaluation of Hope Beyond Hype, the stem cell science comic created by Eurostemcell. It aims to provide a clear communication from scientists to the public about the realities of stem cell science but does it achieve this aim?

 

 

 

 

 

From carrying out over 20 interviews, three focus groups and an extensive survey of around 260 people it appears it largely does. The main findings are:

Capturing the primordial human stem cells in the lab

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered a method to “reset” human embryonic stem cells to an earlier developmental stage, producing a type of stem cell up to now only seen in rodents.

2014 Stem Cell Person of the Year - Dr Masayo Takahashi

EuroStemCell would like to offer its warm congratulations to Dr Masayo Takahashi, winner of the Stem Cell Person of the Year 2014.  This international award is facilitated and funded by Professor Paul Knoepfler, in recognition of people who are transformative in the stem cell field for the benefit of others.

Study reveals the genesis of brain cells that degenerate in Huntington’s disease

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.

Debating Science Issues 2015 Competition Open for Applications

In conjunction with Ireland’s Science Week, Debating Science Issues (DSI) is being launched with an upper secondary school workshop series. The schools’ science programme, now in its eighth year, invites young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science.

Although the workshop phase of DSI is under way, several partners are still recruiting schools. The pre-competition workshops provide an open and impartial environment and challenge the students to consider the ethical impacts of contemporary research. After the school workshop, students work with their team and under their teacher’s supervision to prepare for a debate competition involving more than 36 schools across Ireland to determine the 2015 All-Ireland winners. Debate adjudicators represent various stakeholders including science, communications/ journalism, religion, medicine, ethics, patients, and interested publics.

Origin of Life: stem-cell exhibition in Lausanne

Much of what many people still regard as science fiction is already happening in pilot projects in laboratories all around the world today: printing ears, producing blood and muscles and reconstructing a food pipe using the body’s own tissue. Science has achieved rapid progress in this field in recent years – and the population at large has scarcely noticed it. What is coming next? An entire heart?

Making insulin producing beta cells from stem cells – how close are we?

The unseen world: Insulin-producing cells made from human embryonic stem cellsThe unseen world: Insulin-producing cells made from human embryonic stem cells

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.

Interview with Henrik Semb: the pancreas, beta cells and diabetes

Professor Henrik Semb is the director of the Danish stem cell center. His research group focuses on how organs are formed and cells acquire their fates in vivo. In particular, they are interested in how processes such as cell shape changes, movement and polarity, not only affect 3D architecture of the developing organ but also what type of cells are made.  In vivo findings from their lab have given insight into coaxing human pluripotent stem cells into functional insulin-producing beta cells as a source for therapy in type 1 diabetes.

Transdifferentiation workshops for secondary students at CRG

The Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona has started the school year with a new workshop for high school students. The workshop is taking place every Thursday in the CRG Teaching and Training Lab facilities, a space specifically designed for the training of new researchers and for outreach activities.

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