As NYSCF enters 2023, we’re taking a moment to look back at the defining moments of 2022. Whether it was gathering in person again for our annual gala and conference, bringing high school students into the lab for hands-on science, creating the first-ever stem cell model of PTSD, or honoring transformational NYSCF leaders we lost, there is much to commemorate from this past year (and plenty to look forward to next year!)

1. New Advances in Disease Research from the NYSCF Research Institute

NYSCF’s Dr. Daniel Paull speaks at SNF Nostos

This year, we saw several exciting advancements in our understanding of major diseases, and introduced a new platform for drug discovery that could mean better treatments for all. Here’s what’s new:

  • Why do some people get PTSD and others don’t? And what’s next for treatments? A new Nature Neuroscience study by NYSCF scientists in collaboration with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Office of Veterans Affairs, and Yale School of Medicine creates the first-ever stem cell model of the disease to find out.
  • Artificial intelligence + stem cells + robots = new insights into diseases like Parkinson’s. Find out what our Nature Communications study in collaboration with Google Research revealed about the cellular features of Parkinson’s.
  • What’s a ‘disease in a dish’ and could it be the future of personalized medicine? At the annual SNF Nostos Conference in Athens, NYSCF unveiled a new drug discovery platform that combines the power of AI and biology to harness the potential of stem cells to make patient avatars and find better treatments.

2. Groundbreaking Studies and Therapies from the NYSCF Innovator Community

Dr. Malin Parmar speaks at the NYSCF Conference

Our global community of NYSCF Innovators is pushing the most promising science forward (and into the clinic!) Here’s a few highlights from our outstanding Innovators:

  • A new cell therapy for Parkinson’s from NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Alumna Malin Parmar, PhD, of Lund University is beginning clinical trials in Europe. Learn how replacing damaged brain cells with healthy ones could target the root of the disease.
  • Most early human embryos created for IVF don’t survive past five days once fertilized. Why? A new study in Cell from NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Alumnus and former NYSCF Research Institute scientist Dieter Egli, PhD, of Columbia University finds the answer may lie with DNA replication.
  • Could replacing the brain’s ‘cleanup machinery’ help treat neurological disease? A new therapy in development by NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Alumnus and NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Prize Recipient Marius Wernig, MD, PhD, discovers how to deliver therapeutics into the brain to do just this.
  • We are delighted to welcome the 2022 class of NYSCF – Robertson Investigators and NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellows into our Innovator Community! Meet the new Investigators and Fellows, and learn about their exciting work in cancer, infertility and endometriosis, neurological and psychiatric disease, food intake, bone health, and more.

3. Remembering Transformative Members of the NYSCF Community

Susan L. Solomon in 2019. Credit: Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times

We were deeply saddened by the passing of several integral members of our community this year. Learn more about their impactful lives and legacies:

  • Our Founding CEO Susan L. Solomon passed away in September after a long battle with ovarian cancer. We owe so much of what NYSCF has accomplished to Susan, and her catalytic impact on stem cell research is only one part of the brilliant legacy she has left behind. Hear from Susan’s community at a memorial service hosted by NYSCF in October, and read moving obituaries in Cell Stem Cell and Stem Cell Reports.
  • NYSCF Leadership Council Member Julian Robertson sadly passed away this August. Since 2010, Julian and the Robertson Foundation have been transformational partners in several of NYSCF’s most impactful programs and initiatives, catalyzing and advancing groundbreaking research across the fields of stem cell and neuroscience research.
  • We mourn the loss of Board Director Emeritus John L. Eastman, who, with his wife Jodie, was a founding supporter of our work and early collaborator in launching NYSCF as an organization and setting the stage for our growth and success today.
  • In August we lost Junior Leadership Council member Sabrina Bertucci, who received the NYSCF Stem Cell Hero Award in 2014 for her inspiring patient advocacy.

4. Return to in-Person Events

Conference attendees gather for the poster session

We were grateful for the opportunities to gather in person once again for our major events of 2022, and we look forward to seeing many more of you next year!

  • At our NYSCF Gala & Science Fair on October 11th, scientists and supporters convened to share stories of their loved ones affected by disease and honor our 2022 NYSCF Stem Cell Heroes: Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, DPhil, Sanjay Gupta, MD, and Irving Weissman, MD, for their contributions to science, medicine, and media.
  • On October 18th and 19th, we hosted the seventeenth annual NYSCF Conference at The Rockefeller University. The meeting featured two inspiring keynote lectures by Janet Rossant, PhD, FRS, FRSC (University of Toronto), and Feng Zhang, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and showcased the latest in diabetes, immunology, cancer, neurological diseases, cell therapies, genomics, and precision medicine.
  • This May, the NYSCF – Robertson Investigators, NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellows, and NYSCF Research Institute scientists gathered in Montauk for the annual Innovators Retreat: a week of camaraderie, collaboration, and groundbreaking science.

5. Education & Outreach

Students learning about the latest in stem cell research

We continued our public education and outreach efforts this year with both in-person and virtual events and programming – including giving students hands-on  lab experience through internships and our high school summer immersive.

  • Each summer, NYSCF brings talented young minds together for our Stem Cell Research Immersive for High School Students. Through this immersive experience, students have the opportunity to speak with scientists, dive into current topics in research, build professional skills, and even step foot in the lab themselves for a day of scientific exploration.  
  • We were thrilled to have 20 talented students as members of our 2022 Class of Summer Interns. Our interns work across our laboratory, engineering, and programs administration teams to get a glimpse into the fast-paced world of stem cell research. Hear from NYSCF Intern Iva Knezevic about how a visit to NYSCF as a high school student sparked an interest in STEM and compelled her to apply for the internship.