NYSCF in the News
In a collaborative tour de force, five female principal investigators, including NYSCF's own Dr. Valentina Fossati, are elucidating the role of energy metabolism in the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) in work funded by the Department of Defense. The multidisciplinary team is collecting patient samples and data across a range of Multiple Sclerosis disease types over the course of two years. March is both MS awareness month and host to International Women’s Day. This unique grant and collaborative effort highlight the importance and impact of women in STEM and shed light on current efforts to find cures for multiple sclerosis. 
Patients enrolled in the project are clinically assessed by Dr. Ilana Katz, and further assessed by Dr. Matilde Inglese with brain magnetic resonance imaging, which will further enhance the classification of the patient to one of the three stages of MS disease progression. Skin biopsies are then collected and reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells by the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array, permitting Dr. Fossati and her team to generate patient specific neural cells, which will hopefully shed light on the mechanisms of disease progression.
The five Principal Investigators are:
 
  • Dr. Ilana Katz-Sand, an assistant professor of neurology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and a member of the MS Microbiome Consortium. Current research projects include studies on the mechanisms of neuronal degeneration in progressive MS, an investigation of the role of the gut microbiome in MS, as well as a clinical trial for neuromyelitis optica. In addition to her own projects, Dr. Katz Sand participates in MS clinical trials. She is also involved in education, teaching residents and medical students at Mount Sinai, and lectures on MS and NMO to other physicians and patients. 

 

  • Dr. Patrizia Casaccia, recently named the founding director of the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center’s (ASRC) Neuroscience Initiative. Her research at the ASRC focuses on glial cell biology, the study of those cells most common the central nervous system. She maintains an affiliation with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she has previously served as professor with the Department of Neuroscience, Neurology and Department of Genomics and Multiscale Biology. She also directed the Center of Excellence for Myelin Repair within the Friedman Brain Institute.

 

  • Dr. Catarina Quinzii, an Assistant Professor at Columbia University Medical Center, with expertise in neurology, neuroscience and genetics, and also holds an appointment in the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine. Her research involves investigating the role of mitochondria dysfunction in disease progression.

 

  • Dr. Matilde Inglese, an Associate Professor of Neurology, Radiology and Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Her lab focuses on understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms leading to disease onset and progression in patients with multiple sclerosis. She serves as a member of the National Institute of Health study sections, and is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

 

  • Dr. Valentina Fossati, an Investigator at the New York Stem Cell Foundation since 2011. She was a recipient of the NYSCF - Druckenmiller Fellowship in 2009. Her current research focuses on using induced pluripotent stem cell modeling for understanding neurodegeneration in MS. 

 

 

The NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array was a central talking point in both an exclusive interview and digital panel with The Regenerative Medicine Network. NYSCF Senior Vice President of Research Dr. Scott Noggle spoke with RegMedNet about how he became interested in stem cell research, NYSCF's growth in the past eleven years including construction and launch of the NYSCF Array, and NYSCF’s ongoing efforts to continually improve stem cell production and derivation using cutting edge automation.

In addition to the interview with Dr. Noggle, NYSCF’s Dr. Daniel Paull, Vice President, Automation Systems & Stem Cell Biology, highlighted the importance of the NYSCF Array in a RegMedNet digital panel discussing induced pluripotent stem cell derivation and applications in research. The panel covered challenges in stem cell derrivation, future potential applications in regenerative medicine, and regulatory challenges. Fellow panelists included Lia Kent of Biological Industries USA, Dr. Yvonne Mica of Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Dr. Fiona Watt of Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London.

 

Read the full RegMedNet interview with Dr. Scott Noggle >>

Learn more about the RegMedNet panel with Dr. Daniel Paull >>

Learn more about the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array >>

Adult cells can be reprogrammed into stem cells through a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer where the nucleus of the adult cell is transferred into an enucleated oocyte or egg cell. However, this process often causes the cell to stop dividing and growing. NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Dieter Egli and a team of researchers at Columbia University Medical Center studied why this developmental arrest happens. Published in Nature Cell Biology, the scientists showed that cell-type-specific features of cell cycle progression are different enough from one another to prevent the transition from one cell type to another during reprogramming, independent of gene expression. 

It is not yet known which type of stem cell derivation will result in the best cells for use in research, drug toxicity testing, and future cell replacement therapies. Understanding the causes and affects of reprogramming techniques on DNA and genome expression is a critical step towards better research, and new treatments and therapies. 

 

Read the paper in Nature Cell Biology >>

Skin repair and wound healing is a critical function to all mammals, including humans. NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Valentina Greco and her team at Yale University published their latest research studying the intricacies of how skin heals in Nature Cell Biology. Using a unique, anesthetized live mouse system, the researchers explored the complex and coordinated dynamics of cellular-level repair, including cell recruitment and tissue-scale organization of skin wound healing. The scientists found that the macro level tissue-scale coordination of cellular behavior promotes epidermal wound repair. 
 
This research has implications on understanding how all mammals heal, including skin repair and disease recovery in humans. 
 

Read the paper in Nature Cell Biology >>

NYSCF's latest paper could have important implications for human reproductive technologies. The scientists showed proof of principle that genome transfer can rescue developmentally incompetent eggs, making them viable for use in reproduction. NYSCF Research Institute scientist Dr. Mitsutoshi Yamada and NYSCF – Robertson Investigator Dr. Dieter Egli used a mouse model to investigate the causes of the decline in developmental potential in aged oocytes.

Through a battery of complementary experiments transferring the genomes of differently aged mouse oocytes post ovulation, the scientists showed that the developmental decline in oocytes is primarily due to abnormal function of cytoplasmic factors, not to deterioration of the genome. This research was published in Stem Cell Reports.

 

Read the paper in Stem Cell Reports >>

NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Michael Yartsev, of the University of California Berkeley, was named a 2017 Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience. The Sloan Research Fellowships recognize the most promising scientific researchers working today with the potential to transform into the next generation of scientific leaders in the US and Canada. 
 
Fellowships are awarded in eight areas: chemistry, computational & evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics. 

 

Meet the 2017 Sloan Research Fellows >>

NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Jayaraj Rajagopal, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was named as the 2017 ISSCR Dr. Susan Lim Outstanding Young Investigator Award recipient for his work studying lung stem cells and lung tissue. Dr. Rajagopal's research has provided new insights into cystic fibrosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and lung cancers. The Award recognizes exceptional achievements by an ISSCR member and investigator in the early part of their independent career in stem cell research.

In four of the past five years, NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigators have been recognized with this prestigious award.

Previous NYSCF recipients of the Dr. Susan Lim Outstanding Young Investigator Award:

  • 2015 Dr. Paul Tesar, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
  • 2014 Dr. Valentina Greco, Yale University
  • 2013 Dr. Marius Wernig, Stanford University

The 2017 ISSCR Award Recipients will be acknowledged and recognized at the ISSCR 2017 Annual Meeting on June 14-17 in Boston, Massachusetts. 

 

Read more about the 2017 ISSCR Award Recipients >>

Learn more about the Outstanding Young Investigator Award >>

NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Alumnus Dr. Christopher Gregg and his team at the University of Utah School of Medicine discovered that neurons may favor genes from one parent over the other more than previously thought, which could impact risk for mental disorders. In a paper published in Neuron, the scientists found that, in mice and in monkeys, one parent’s copy of a gene was randomly turned off while the other remained active, and that this occurred most often in the developing brain. These changes effected gene expression in most genes, including those implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and many others.
 
This research has potential implications on the understanding of mammalian brain genetics including human brain genetics and our understanding of neuropsychiatric disorder development and risk.

 

Read the paper in Neuron >>

Read more in Discover Magazine >>

Watch Video Abstract >>

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