NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Zachary Knight and his team from the Universtiy of California, San Francisco conducted experiments that overthrow the scientific consensus on how the brain's 'hunger circuit' regulates eating. The research, published in Cell, shows that the hunger circuit in the brain responds within seconds to the presence of food, as opposed to gradually, and that neurons motivate animals to seek and obtain food, rather than directly prompting them to consume it.
These findings could reshape basic research on feeding behavior as well as direct new strategies for the development of new anti-obesity drugs.
NYSCF Robertson - Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Melissa Warden, Cornell University, and NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Jennifer Phillips-Cremins, Universtiy of Pennsylvania, were named 2015 Sloan Research Fellows.
This prestigious award, given annually since 1955 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, recognizes outstanding young scientists, economists, and mathematicians in the United States and Canada. A total of 126 award recipients from 57 universities were named as the 2015 class.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Alex Meissner, Harvard University, published his latest work on the role of transcription factors in stem cell differentiation in Nature. The scientists analyzed genome-wide data on the effects of 38 transcription factors during differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into the three germ layers, and showed downstream effects and context-dependent changes caused by these transcription factors during the differentiation process.
Understanding step by step stem cell development is crucial for future cell replacement treatments and technologies, as well as for basic research.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Jayaraj Rajagopal, Massachusetts General Hospital, published his latest research on stem cell response in injury repair in Cell Stem Cell. The paper describes how airway injury induces functional segregation of adult basal cells. Further, the research showed that effective regeneration involves intracellular communication between basal cells and progenitor cells.
This research has broad implications for understanding injury regeneration at a cellular level as well as on why similar stem cells behave differently and work together under the same influence.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Feng Zhang, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, published his latest work on genome editing in Nature Biotechnology. Dr. Zhang and his team showed how a targeted genome editing molecule structure called Cas9 works in mammalian cells. Further, this genome editing structure can be induced or dormant due to a split architecture that is activated by chemical induction.
This work to identify specific and targeted genome editing technologies will pave the way to future genetic based treatments.
Dr. Stephen Chang, NYSCF Vice President for Research and Development, presented the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array technology at the National Institutes of Health Fifth AIMBE Workshop “Validation and Qualification of New In Vitro Tools and Models for the Pre-Clinical Drug Discovery Process.”
This meeting explored the latest technologies in disease modeling and drug discovery including the Array technology, NYSCF's unique automated, robotic technology capable of producing identical human stem cell lines on an industrial scale. The purpose of this series of workshops is to develop guidelines for developing new tools for the pre-clinical and clinical drug development process, and to figure out how to validate and qualify these new technologies so that they become useful, meaningful tools.
NYSCF CEO Susan L. Solomon penned an editorial in Roll Call commending the approval of mitochondrial replacement therapy, or MRT, by the UK Parliament House of Commons and calling the FDA to action on moving forward with the approval process in the US.
UK Ministers of Parliament in the House of Commons voted 382 to 128 in favor of moving forward with MRT, a technique similar to in-vitro fertilization that prevents the transmission of devastating mitochondrial diseases from mother to child. MRT allows for women with mitochondrial diseases, or with a family history of mitochondrial diseases, to have healthy, genetically related children for the first time.
MRT is a technique that was developed in the US and in the UK, including at the NYSCF Research Institute. The UK decision now hinges on approval by the House of Lords. While it's use is still banned in the US, we hope that this positive decision on MRT in the UK informes the discussion and approval process in the US.