NYSCF in the News & Research Spotlight

NYSCF Innovator Improves Revolutionary Imaging Technique
NYSCF Innovator Improves Revolutionary Imaging Technique

NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Ed Boyden and his team at MIT Media Lab published their latest work advancing and improving their revolutionary imaging technique: expansion microscopy. The research, published in Nature Methods, describes an advance on standard expansion microscopy, increasing magnification by 20x the sample size. 

The expansion microscopy technique revolutionized imaging by physically expanding biological specimens while maintaining their characteristics and proportions. Standard expansion microscopy begins by embedding and homogenizing a specimen in a dense polymer gel. The specimen is then physically expanded by 4.5x its starting size by swelling the gel. This technique enables scientists to study the biological structures of minute specimens with unheard of clarity, using standard microscopes and magnification. 

The new process, dubbed iterative expansion microscopy, puts the sample through an additional expansion enabling nanometer resolution imaging of cells and tissues on conventional microscopes. 


Read the paper in Nature Methods >>

Read the press release in MIT News >>

NYSCF Investigator Unearths Complexity in Brain Navigation System
NYSCF Investigator Unearths Complexity in Brain Navigation System

NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Lisa Giocomo and a team at Stanford University published their recent work in Neuron investigating how navigation works in the brain. Grid cells, commonly known as the GPS of the brain, along with border, head direction, and speed cells comprise the four main types of cells in the navigation system in mammalian brains. The scientists found that the navigation system and the cells that comprise it are much more complex and multifaceted than previously assumed. Instead of distinct cell types, they found that many cells displayed characteristics of multiple cell types and even the flexibility to display traits of one type followed by the traits of another. 

This work upends the assumption that our navigational brain function can be mapped with a mathematical model. Much more research is needed to fully understand the navigation process, including a fundamental reassessment of the mechanisms in play. 


Read the paper in Neuron >>

Read the press release from Stanford News >>

NYSCF Innovator Describes Potential Cell Replacement Strategy for Parkinson's Disease
NYSCF Innovator Describes Potential Cell Replacement Strategy for Parkinson's Disease
The traditional cell replacement therapy model relies on manufacturing the relevant cell type in the lab and injecting or replacing these cells into the patient, curing or treating their disease. NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Alumnus and NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Prize recipient Dr. Marius Wernig and his team at Stanford University explored a new method of potential cell replacement therapy for Parkinson's disease in their latest Nature Biotechnology paper. The researchers explored directly converting astrocytes, a different type of brain cell, into the dopaminergic neurons lost in Parkinson's disease. Testing their theory in a dish using human cells, and in a mouse model directly, the scientists found that this approach is theoretically possible, including improvements seen in the mouse models. 
This type of research represents a potential breakthrough in cell replacement therapies, introducing a technique in which cell replacement may be achieved through gene therapy instead of whole cell replacement. 


Read the paper in Nature Biotechnology >>

Stem Cells Enable Exploration of Rare Neurological Disease
Stem Cells Enable Exploration of Rare Neurological Disease
NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Alumnus Dr. Paul Tesar of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine collaborated with NYSCF scientists Dr. Valentina Fossati and Dr. Panos Douvaras to explore the varied genetics behind Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease, a rare neurological disorder. Using stem cells, the scientists created models of the disease in a dish that displayed different genetic scenarios, identifying individual and shared defects that could inform treatment efforts.
This research, published in The American Journal of Human Genetics, could have a significant impact on clinical approaches to treating this deadly childhood disorder. 


Read the paper in The American Journal of Human Genetics >>

Read the press release on EurekAlert >>

Progress Towards Cures Will Stall Under Proposed Budget Cuts
Progress Towards Cures Will Stall Under Proposed Budget Cuts

President Donald Trump's proposed 2018 budget cuts $5.8 billion from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 20% of its current budget. While these numbers represent a request to Congress and not a final agreement, the cuts are a dramatic statement against science as a priority for the administration and for our country.

These cuts, if implemented, may have a greater negative impact on the stem cell research field than the restrictions implemented by former President Bush. Ongoing NIH funding is critical to all biomedical research, including ours at The New York Stem Cell Foundation. Cutting these funds is a major risk for all research, and threatens to slow down or stop potentially lifesaving experiments while also put at risk the jobs of many scientists across the country.

The President has also proposed significant budget cuts to the NIH and other scientific agencies for the remainder of this year’s budget. These drastic measures would be a major step back for the advancement of science and medicine in the United States.


Read more from Nobel Laureate and founding NYSCF Medical Advisory Board Member Dr. Harold Varmus in the New York Times >>

Politico spoke with NYSCF CEO Susan L. Solomon about the proposed cuts, read the story here (firewalled) >>

  • NYSCF Press Releases

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    Feng Zhang Receives 2016 NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Prize
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    NYSCF Announces the Six Members of the 2016 Class of NYSCF - Robertson Investigators
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    NYSCF Calls For Faster FDA Review to Curb Stem Cell Tourism Citing Baby Born Using Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy
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