NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Shuibing Chen, of Weill Cornell Medical College, and her team studied the development of human pancreatic cells using stem cells. Although endothelial cells, a cell type during early development, have been shown to affect mouse pancreatic development, their function in human development remains unclear.
Dr. Chen and her team published in Stem Cell Reports describing their work identifying a molecular signal that mediates cross talk between different types of cells and creating a paradigm to study different stages of organ development using human stem cells.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Jacob Hanna, of the Weitzmann Institute of Science in Israel, and his team discovered a critical role played by the modification of a signal molecule in vivo in naive and primed stem cells. In addition, the scientists identified regulatory modules that influence both naive and primed stem cell pluripotentcy in an opposing manner.
This study, published in Science, will help researchers understand why and how stem cells transition through states of differentiation through their different molecular properties. This type of research will lead to a better understanding of stem cell pluripotency and, ultimately, clinical use.
NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Winrich Freiwald, The Rockefeller University, published his latest work on macaque facila processing in Current Biology. The researchers identified a new 'face patch' in the brain of macaque monkeys for natural facial motion, as contrasted with a different 'facial patch' that encodes for face shape.
This finding shows that moving faces recruit different areas of the brain to process as compared to non-moving faces and suggests a new anatomical organization principle in the macaque facial-processing system. Macaque research may give clues to human brain function, particularly in high-level processes such as facial recognition and processing.
NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Ed Boyden, MIT Media Lab, described in Science the newest technology developed in his lab for imaging biological samples. The technology, called expansion microscopy, physically magnifies the sample itself using a swellable polymer and adding water, making the sample itself grow, as opposed to traditional microscopy using only lenses to observe samples.
This technique gives scientists the ability to image large, intact, 3D structures with nanoscale precision. This may be a key tool to use in comprehensive, precise brain mapping which would allow scientists to better understand both normal and diseased brain function.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Alex Meissner, Harvard University, published the lastest research out of his lab investigating the regulation of neural cell differentiation through epigenetic footprinting. The research, published in Nature, describes a system the scientists developed to identify the regulation of different stages of neural stem cell differentiation in a dish, which models what happens during brain development in the body.
This research creates a framwork for scientists to dissect all types of regulatory circuits for cell differentiation, which could lead to important discoveries about the development of all cell types in the body.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Jacob Hanna, of the Weitzmann Institute of Science, co-authored a paper published in Cell describing the creation of cellular precursors to human egg and sperm cells using human induced pluripotent stem cells. This is the first time that human cells have been programmed into this early developmental stage.
This work could help provide answers to fertility problems, provide insight into the earliest stages of human embryonic development and, potentially, lead to new reproductive technologies in the future.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Alex Meissner, Harvard University, analyzed the genetic patterns in cancer cells and found that disarray in the cellular on-off mechansim, known as methylation, is one of the defining characteristics of cancer and helps tumors adapt to changing circumstances.
The research, published in Cancer Cell, also showed that disorganized cell methylation had a direct impact on the effectiveness of cancer treatment in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This finding will help scientists hone in on why some tumors resist treatment and could have a large impact on all cancer analysis and treatment.
The 92nd Street Y in Manhattan hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Homo Sapiens 2.0: Genetic Enhancement and the Future of Humanity,” which covered current and future approaches to human genetic engineering and related topics. NYSCF CEO and Co-founder Susan L. Solomon sat on the panel along with George Church, PhD, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School; Robert Klitzman, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of the masters of bioethics program at Columbia University; and Lee Silver, PhD, professor of molecular biology and public policy at Princeton University and founder of GenePeeks, Inc. The panel discussed the future of human genetics, evolution and bioethics of gene and reproductive manipulation and was moderated by Jamie Metzl, JD, PhD, senior fellow of the Asia Society.