Since its inception, NYSCF has taken a leading role in helping to build out the biotech sector in New York. As a step towards realizing this goal, NYSCF CEO Susan L. Solomon chaired a plenary panel at the New York BIO conference where fellow New York science, government, and institutional leaders discuss ”Building New York Into a Biotech Hub.”
Panelists Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President, The Rockefeller University, Dr. Gillian Small, Vice Chancellor for Research, The City University of New York (CUNY), and Maria Torres-Springer, President and CEO, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) discussed policies and initiatives that each of their respective institutions have put into motion or are planning to pursue to grow the New York bioscience industry into a global competitor.
In the human body, adult tissues replace lost cells via pools of stem cells. However, the mechanisms of this process are not fully understood. NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Valentina Greco, Yale University, shed light on this process by studying the lifetime of individual skin cells from the ears and paws of mice using specialized imaging techniques.
The research, published in Science, suggested that skin stem cells have equal potential to divide or directly differentiate, and that cell behavior is not coordinated between cellular generations. This research sheds light on how a tissue is maintained through stem cell behaviors, a key piece of future regenerative medicine therapies. NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellow Alumnus Dr. Panteleimon Rompolas was first author on the paper.
NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Ravindra Majeti, Stanford University School of Medicine, improved on human blood disease modeling using mouse models. The research, published in Nature Medicine, describes advanced stem cell and transplant biology techniques used to create a system that more fully mimics the human bone marrow environment in mouse models.
This advance will be useful for investigating a wide variety of human blood and bone marrow diseases including blood and bone marrow cancers.
NYSCF’s origin story and philanthropic mission were a highlight at the 2016 Town and Country Philanthropy Summit, held at the New York Historical Society. NYSCF CEO and Co-founder Susan L. Solomon joined Katharina Harf of DKMS, Jessica Seinfeld of Baby Buggy, Brooke Garber Neidich of the Child Mind Institute, and moderator Whitney Williams of williamsworks in a panel discussion on “Turning a personal issue into a foundation.” Each of the panelists shared how they started and built successful foundations around causes they were deeply invested in. In addition, Town & Country Magazine named Ms. Solomon a Top 50 Philanthropist of 2016.
Human stem cells require a certain cocktail of molecules to maintain their pluripotent state. Bone morphogenic proteins, or BMPs, promote differentiation in human cells, therefore molecules that activate or sensitize stem cells to BMP signaling are able to promote cell differentiation.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Shuibing Chen, Weill Cornell Medical School, identified a new small molecule activator for human embryonic stem cell differentiation. Published in Cell Reports, the molecule, called PD407824, is a checkpoint kinase 1 inhibitor which increases the sensitivity of cells to sub-threshold amounts of BMP4.
This discovery provides a useful tool for scientists to control and scale stem cell differentiation.
NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Michael Long, NYU School of Medicine, published the latest research out of his lab in Neuron describing neuronal behavior in Zebra Finches. Using two different methods, Dr. Long and his research team showed that premotor cortical activity in the brains of singing finches does not reflect ongoing song-related movement but, instead, appears to form an abstract population sequence during song performance.
Studying the complex neuronal connections that enable behavior and movement will ultimately lead to breakthroughs in scientists' understanding of both the healthy human brain and neuronal diseases.
Axolotls have the ability to regenerate multiple organs, including their brains, throughout the course of their lives. This makes them an ideal model to study brain regeneration, particularly whether neuronal diversity, intricate tissue architecture and neuron connectivity can be regenerated.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Paola Arlotta, Harvard University, demonstrated that diverse, electrophysiologically functional neurons can be regenerated in axolotls after mechanical injury in her latest paper published in Elife. Research on brain repair in regenerative species helps pave the way for the eventual development of successful cell replacement strategies and repairs in the central nervous system of people.
The 3D structure of a cell’s genetic code, or genome, helps guide genetic expression. Though it is known that this structure is rearranged in somatic cells during reprogramming into induced pluripotent stem cells, this process is poorly understood.
NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Jennifer Phillips-Cremins, University of Pennsylvania, investigates this phenomenon in her work recently published in Cell Stem Cell. In an effort to shed light on how the cellular genome structure is reconfigured during reprogramming, Dr. Phillips-Cremins and her team compared epigenetic marks and gene expression between different types of cells, showing that induced pluripotent stem cell genomes can have mistakes in their 3D folding linked to inaccurately reprogrammed gene expression.
This research has implications on how to develop the best possible cells for future regenerative medicine applications.