Hidenori Akutsu, MD, PhD, is the director of the Department of Reproductive Medicine at the National Center for Child Health and Development in Tokyo, Japan. Assessment of absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity (ADMET) of xenobiotics has transformed the understanding of in vivo pharmacology. However, these processes are difficult to repeat in vitro. In recent years, Dr. Akutsu and colleagues established a novel derivation/cultivation system of embryonic stem cells which had a potential application in translational and clinical research. Now, his latest study – published in StemJournal – is the first to show that human gastrointestinal organoids exert catalytic activity on xenobiotics. Here, he discusses this model and its potential for unleashing answers about the gut microbiome.
Torsten B. Meissner, PhD, is an instructor in surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. As an immunologist by training, he is interested in engineering cells of the immune system and reprogramming them not only to fight cancer but also to treat various infectious and chronic inflammatory diseases, and to induce tolerance in autoimmunity. Here, he discusses cell replacement therapy and ongoing studies to overcome the immune-rejection barrier that are essential for making stem cell-derived therapies broadly accessible – which is the focus of a recently published StemJournal position paper.
Martin Rodriguez-Porcel, MD is a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA where his lab works to non-invasively study the biology of gene and cell therapies for cardiovascular applications using molecular imaging strategies. One of the focuses of research in his lab is the development and adaption of novel molecular imaging modalities – for example, optical imaging, positron emission tomography, and ultrasound – to better understand the biology of stem cells used for cardiovascular applications. Here, he discusses his newly revised chapter and the latest developmentsin this field, such as reporter gene imaging and optoacoustics.
Stephanie Willerth, PhD is Associate Professor at the University of Victoria, Canada, with dual appointments in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Division of Medical Sciences. She also serves as the Acting Director for the Centre for Biomedical Research, on the steering committee of the BC Regenerative Medicine Initiative, and is the Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering. Within her interdisciplinary research laboratory, Dr Willerth and her team investigate how to engineer neural tissue by combining pluripotent stem cells, controlled drug delivery, and biomaterial scaffolds. Here, she discusses her newly revised chapter and how the field has progressed since the original chapter was published.
Joanne Kurtzberg, MD is a Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Pathology at Duke University Medical School. Additionally, she is the Chief Scientific Officer and Medical Director of the Robertson Clinical and Translational Cell Therapy Program, Director of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Co-Director of the Stem Cell Laboratory, as well as Director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank. Dr. Kurtzberg’s research and clinical interests include using cord blood transplants for the treatment of metabolic diseases and cerebral palsy. She spoke to StemBook editor, Lisa Girard, recently about progress in these areas.
Khalid Shah heads the Molecular Neurotherapy and Imaging Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital where he is also Director of the Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging Program. In addition, he is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Stem Cell Institute Principal Faculty member. Khalid’s laboratory focuses on creating stem cell-based therapeutics for primary and metastatic brain tumors. StemBook editor, Lisa Girard, spoke with Khalid recently about recent progress in his lab.
Doug Melton is the Xander University Professor at Harvard and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute . He is also a co-director of Harvard's Stem Cell Institute and co-chair of the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard. His research focused on basic developmental processes using Xenopus laveis until the diagnosis of his infant son with type 1 diabetes about 20 years ago shifted his focus toward understanding and curing the disease. Doug recently spoke with StemBook editor, Lisa Girard. Below is an edited version of that interview.
Allan Spradling is a Staff Member and Director of the Carnegie Institution Department of Embryology and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Additionally, he is an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University. Allan and his laboratory study drosophila oogenesis, and more recently the intestine, in order to explore a range of questions including differentiation, the niche, and aging. Allan recently spoke with StemBook editor, Lisa Girard.
Fiona Watt, DPhil, is Director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at the King's College London Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine. Additionally, she is one of the founding members of the Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Initiative, and Deputy Editor of eLife. Her lab is known for its work on mammalian skin cells and uses epidermal stem cells as a model to understand stem cell-niche interactions in cell fate decisions. Fiona spoke with StemBook editor, Lisa Girard, recently and below is an edited transcript of that conversation.
Bernd Haussmann was born in Germany and studied art at the MERZ Akademie, Stuttgart Germany. His work is featured in numerous galleries and museums and he is currently the Broad Institute’s Artist in Residence. Haussmann’s abstract paintings have been said to reflect his interest in the natural world and are the means by which he seeks to understand the world and his place in it. Bernd spoke recently with StemBook editor, Lisa Girard, at the Broad Institute about his work there and the intersection of science and art.