Media Advisory: The New York Stem Cell Foundation Annual Conference

The New York Stem Cell Foundation’s (NYSCF) 14th Annual Conference convenes global leaders in stem cell research to present their latest progress towards new treatments and cures for the most devastating diseases and injuries in the world.

The New York Stem Cell Foundation’s (NYSCF) 14th Annual Conference convenes global leaders in stem cell research to present their latest progress towards new treatments and cures for the most devastating diseases and injuries in the world.

The two-day conference features discussions on transformative new technologies in the field, moving research from the lab to the clinic, and current challenges facing regenerative medicine. The meeting sessions feature 28 scientific presentations on topics including neurodegenerative disease, precision medicine, clinical trials, regenerative medicine, tissue renewal, organoids, diabetes, and cancer.

This year’s first keynote address (October 23, 9:10 AM) will be given by Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University, and a Senior Investigator at the Gladstone Institutes. Dr. Yamanaka was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery that adult somatic cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells.

The meeting’s second keynote (October 23, 1:45 PM) will be delivered by Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, group leader at the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research and professor of Molecular Genetics at the University Medical Center Utrecht and Utrecht University. Dr. Clevers is a pioneer in cancer organoid technology– 3D aggregates of human tissue made from tumors that can be used to study development and disease as well as test drugs.

A panel discussing A New Paradigm for Women’s Reproductive Cancers (October 23, 2:50 – 3:35 PM) will highlight NYSCF’s recently launched Women’s Reproductive Cancers Initiative, which aims to leverage advances in stem cell and organoid technology to change how these devastating cancers are studied and treated. This panel will be moderated by Pulitzer Prize winning-author, physician, and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, DPhil (Columbia University) and features Dr. Clevers, Laura Andres-Martin, PhD (The NYSCF Research Institute), Michael Birrer, MD, PhD (the University of Alabama at Birmingham), Ursula Matulonis, MD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute). Dr. Andres-Martin leads the Initiative, and Drs. Mukherjee, Birrer, and Matulonis serve on its Scientific Advisory Board. Drs. Matulonis and Mukherjee will also share their laboratories’ work in the Therapeutic Innovations in Cancer session (2:20 PM – 2:50 PM, October 23).

On the panel discussion Advancing Precision Medicine with the Power of Stem Cells (October 22, 2:10 – 3:00 PM), scientists will discuss how stem cells are enabling unprecedented progress toward more effective, targeted therapies for a range of diseases. The panel, moderated by NYSCF Senior Director of Scientific Outreach Raeka Aiyar, PhD, will feature Leroy Hood, MD, PhD (SVP and Chief Science Officer, Providence St. Joseph Health; Chief Strategy Officer, Co-founder and Professor, Institute for Systems Biology), Susan L. Solomon, JD (CEO, The NYSCF Research Institute), Craig Thompson, MD (President, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), Antony Rosen, MBChB, MS (Vice Dean for Research, Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University), and Feng Zhang, PhD (Core Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and NYSCF – Robertson Investigator).

Dr. Hood will deliver a plenary lecture (October 22, 1:35 PM) on his pioneering work advancing precision medicine with systems biology. He is one of 20 individuals elected to all three National Academies — the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.

The Genetics and Genomics session (October 22, 9:10 – 10:25 AM) will feature Aviv Regev, PhD (The Broad Institute) who will speak about her leading work in single-cell analyses and applications of machine learning. Tuuli Lappalainen, PhD (Columbia University, New York Genome Center) will share results from the Genotype Tissue Expression Consortium and how they illuminate the genetic underpinnings of complex traits. NYSCF – Robertson Investigator Jennifer Philips-Cremins, PhD, (University of Pennsylvania) will discuss her lab’s goal of understanding the role of the 3D genome in brain development and disease.

In Neurodegeneration and the Brain (October 22, 3:30 – 5:10 PM), Zameel Cader, MD, DPhil (Oxford University) will share his work using stem cells to uncover new mechanisms and treatments for migraines. Ali Brivanlou, PhD (The Rockefeller University) will discuss his work using stem cells to understand human development as well as diseases such as Huntington’s. Sergiu Pasca, MD (Stanford University) will present his laboratory’s use of organoids to model development of the human brain and better understand neuropsychiatric diseases such as autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. Finally, Tracy Young-Pearse, PhD (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) will share her work using stem cells to uncover mechanisms behind Alzheimer’s disease.

The Tissue Renewal and Regeneration (October 23, 10:55 – 12:35 AM) session will highlight how stem cells are opening the door for study and treatment of tissue disease and damage. Matthias Hebrok, PhD (University of California, San Francisco) will share his findings using stem cells to better understand the mechanisms of diabetes. Jennifer Elisseeff, PhD (Johns Hopkins University) will discuss her work engaging the immune system to enable tissue repair. Kristin Baldwin, PhD (The Scripps Research Institute) will discuss her studies of neuronal diversity in the brain and its role in neurological disease, and NYSCF – Robertson Investigator Valentina Greco, PhD (Yale University) will share her work using live imaging to study skin and hair follicle regeneration, and its implications for cancer.

In Road to the Clinic (October 23, 4:05 – 5:20 PM), researchers will present the latest therapies in clinical trials enabled by stem cell research. Graziella Pellegrini, PhD (The University of Modena and Reggio Emilia) will outline the current landscape of cellular therapy and her work developing treatments for ocular burns and congenital diseases such as epidermolysis bullosa. Jun Takahashi, MD, PhD (Kyoto University) will discuss his clinical trial for a stem-cell-based Parkinson’s therapy. NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Brian Wainger, PhD (Massachusetts General Hospital) will give an update on his clinical trial using an epilepsy drug to treat ALS — a discovery made using a stem cell model of the disease.

The full conference agenda can be found at http://www.nyscf.org/conference. Limited media passes are available upon request to press@nyscf.org.

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About The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute

The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute is an independent non-profit organization accelerating cures and better treatments for patients through stem cell research. The NYSCF global community includes over 180 researchers at leading institutions worldwide, including the NYSCF–Druckenmiller Fellows, the NYSCF – Robertson Investigators, the NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Prize Recipients, and NYSCF Research Institute scientists and engineers. The NYSCF Research Institute is an acknowledged world leader in stem cell research and in developing pioneering stem cell technologies, including the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array® and in manufacturing stem cells for scientists around the globe. NYSCF focuses on translational research in an accelerator model designed to overcome barriers that slow discovery and replace silos with collaboration. For more information, visit www.nyscf.org.