Showing Up for Science: Celebrities and Stem Cells Take Center Stage at the NYSCF Gala

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Hosted by CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MD, this year’s New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute Gala & Science Fair went virtual for the very first time. Featuring the latest updates and breakthroughs in stem cell research, the Gala brought the world of the NYSCF Research Institute laboratories to life.

“For me, this work is not just about the cures that I’m going to see in my lifetime,” said Dr. Gupta. “It’s about the world I can help shape for my own daughters and their children. Stem cell research, I think, is really likely to allow future generations to look at diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and other chronic and degenerative conditions the same way that we now see polio or smallpox: as diseases of the past. NYSCF is showing up every day to make that vision a reality.”

The program, themed “Show up for Science,” featured NYSCF Research Institute Scientists, numerous special guests, and the three 2020 NYSCF Stem Cell Heroes: award-winning architect and designer David Rockwell, scientist, professor, and patient advocate Brooke Ellison, PhD, and internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry.

Segments of the program included:

  • Actress Jane Krakowski discussing the basics of stem cells and how they are being used to study and fight COVID-19 with NYSCF’s Daniel Paull, PhD.  
  • Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson in conversation with NYSCF’s Laura Andres-Martin, PhD, about new cutting-edge research on women’s reproductive cancers.
  • A performance by Yo-Yo Ma in tribute to Frank Gehry.
  • Actors Santino Fontana and Annaleigh Ashford discussing stem cells in outer space.
  • Actor Victor Garber in conversation with NYSCF’s Scott Noggle, PhD, on how stem cells can help find a cure for diabetes.
  • NASA astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor, MD, PhD, and Peggy Whitson, PhD, on stem cell research, the importance of research on the International Space Station, and their favorite experiments in space.
  • An update on NYSCF’s macular degeneration stem cell therapy clinical trial with NYSCF scientists Howard Kim, PhD, and Cecile Terrenoire, PhD.

The program also includes special appearances by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Broadway, television and film actors Kelli O’Hara, Lilli Cooper, Billy Porter and John Slattery, patient advocates Lauren Miller Rogen and actor Seth Rogen.

“Stem cells offer us hope that in our lifetime, we will have treatments for what we think of today as untreatable conditions,” remarked Ms. Goldberg. “And we can all help to accelerate the realization of that hope. Do whatever you can, because whatever you do to help may actually change the life of someone you love.”

Watch the full program below: