NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator, Dr. Alex Meissner of Harvard University, mapped the methyl and demethylation patterns in human cells before and after fertilization. While this has previously been done extensively in mice, human DNA methylation patterns and changes are not fully understood.
The research, published in Nature, describes full genome DNA maps of methylation patterns in human cells during preimplantation development and embryonic stem cell derivation. The scientists confirmed that paternal genome demethylation is a general attribute of early mammalian development.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Paola Arlotta, of Harvard University, published her latest work on gene co-regulation in Nature Neuroscience.
The regulatory logic, or rules, that orchestrate the expression of the unique combinations of genes in each neuron class is unknown. In this study the scientists discovered that Fezf2 is the first selector gene able to regulate on its own the expression of large batteries of genes that collectively define corticospinal motor neurons (CSMN). CSMN are one specific class of cortical neurons responsible for the initiation and fine execution of motor function.These neurons are affected in diseases like ALS and are injured in spinal cord injury.
This is the first discovery of a selector gene for any class of neurons of the cerebral cortex and will aid efforts to program CSMN from stem cells in order to model disease affecting CSMN in vivo.
NSYCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Ed Boyden, of MIT Media Lab, published his recent work in Nature Neuroscience. The paper describes the modification of a bacteria to respond to red wavelengths of light, named Jaws, and the use of Jaws to silence neural activity in the brains of awake mice when activated. This is the first light-sensitive molecule able to silence neurons noninvasively, potentially paving the way for use in humans to treat epilepsy and other neurological disorders.
The New York Times Magazine featured NYSCF’s cutting-edge research and our efforts to bring to patients our technique of preventing the transmission from mother to child of mitochondrial diseases as a cover story. The technique, pioneered and developed at the NYSCF Research Institute lead by NYSCF scientist Dr. Dieter Egli and his colleagues, involves transferring into a donor egg the nucleus of an egg cell from a woman affected by or with a family history of mitochondrial diseases. This would allow her to have a genetically related child that would be unaffected by this group of diseases. Dr. Egli presented this work to an FDA advisory committee earlier this spring in an important first step toward bringing this technique to patients.
There are currently no cures for this group of devastating diseases. Mitochondrial disorders affect approximately 1 in 10,000 people, while nearly 1 in 200 individuals carry mutant mitochondria. Symptoms, which most often appear in childhood, may include stunted growth, kidney disease, muscle weakness, neurological disorders, loss of vision and hearing, and respiratory problems, among others.
Our experiments have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of this technique, making NYSCF and our clinical collaborators at Columbia University the leading candidate to bring this technique to human clinical trials in the United States.
NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Ed Boyden of MIT Media Lab, published his latest research in Nature Methods on a new platform to study electrophysiology in cells using an all-optical method. This platform, called Optopatch, is built from a handful of engineered markers and vectors and enables high-throughput, spatially resolved electrophysiology without the use of traditional electrodes, opening new vistas for neuroscience research.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Paul Tesar of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine published a paper in Cell Stem Cell describing 'seeds' of stem cells' development. The scientists discovered landmarks within pluripotent stem cells that guide how they develop and become different types of cells in the body.
This research has huge implications, potentially allowing future scientists to understand and direct stem cell differentiation to prevent and cure disease and injury.
NYSCF welcomed the 2014 class of NYSCF - Druckenmiller Postdoctoral Fellows at a reception at the Asia Society. These seven exceptional scientists work in stem cell research areas from cancer development to understanding diseases such as Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis and will continue to add to the success and prestige of the program. As the future scientific leaders of tomorrow, NYSCF is more than happy to welcome them into the NYSCF community.
The new fellows are:
- Dr. Zhongwei Cao, who will be working on understanding why lymphoma cells are resistant to chemotherapy at Weill Cornell Medical College.
- Dr. Panos Douvaras, who will be working on understanding multiple sclerosis using patient-specific cells at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute.
- Dr. Alexandre Gaspar Maia, who will be working on understanding cellular reprogramming and cancer progression at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
- Dr. Bjarki Johannesson, who will be using stem cells to understand type 1 diabetes at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute.
- Dr. Maltane Ortiz-Virumbrales, who will be exploring effective personalized treatments for Alzheimer’s disease at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
- Dr. Dominik Paquet, who will be working on understanding the molecular mechanisms of nerve cell degeneration in Alzheimer’s disease at The Rockefeller University.
- Dr. Maria Themeli, who will be using stem cells to generate cancer fighting T cells at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
A team of NYSCF scientists and staff spoke about NYSCF and NYSCF's research programs at key meetings in London, England. NYSCF CEO Susan L. Solomon and NYSCF Investigators Dr. Scott Noggle and Dr. Danny Freytes presented NYSCF's latest research at a aspecial seminar at King's College London, the London Regenerative Medicine Network meeting, and at the World Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Congress.
These meetings brought together various key stakeholders in the stem cell community from the UK and all around the world to discuss the stem cell field and report on new research discoveries.