NYSCF and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) of the Republic of Korea held a ceremony to officially sign a five-year memorandum of understanding, or MOU, setting the stage for future collaborations in the areas of health care and medical science as they relate to stem cell research. This agreement will promote collaboration and development as well as exchange of information between KHIDI and NYSCF, and, more broadly, between the United States and Korea, accelerating stem cell research and cures on an international scale.
NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Gaby Maimon, The Rockefeller University, published his latest work studying visuomotor processing in fruit flies. The research, published in Nature Neuroscience, describes cellular and electrophysiological evidence that supports the theory that flies use active neural-circuit mechanisms to supress the perception of motion while flying. In addition, the scientists showed that these results mirror the visual supression of movement during rapid eye movement in primates.
Understanding neural image processing in animal models may lead to breakthoughs in our understanding of human visuomotor processing including pathologies related to visuomotor circuits.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Alex Meissner, Harvard University, published his latest work studying the development and interaction of binding factors in mouse stem cells. This research, published in Cell Stem Cell, studies how 'ground state' conditions affect pluripotency factor binding using two pathway inhibitors.
Understanding the specific steps and factors contributing to cell pluripotency is a necessary step in order to eventually develop successful future cell replacement treatments and therapies.
NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Christopher Gregg, University of Utah, published his latest work on parental genetic imprinting in mice. The research, published in Cell Reports, describes how so-called noncanonical imprinting, meaning targeted and subtle unequal genetic imprinting, is prevalent in the brains of mice and skews the genetic message in subpopulations of cells leading to either the father or mother's genes having a larger, disproportionate say. The researchers showed this mechanism can influence behavior and appears to be preferred as compared to classic imprinting.
This work studies the influence of genetics at the cellular level, as compared to the level of the whole animal, and may lead to insights into neural behavior and disorders, such as autism.
NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Takaki Komiyama, University of California San Diego, published his breakthrough research showing that learning in mice impacts how their brains process what they see. This research, published in Nature Neuroscience, showed that the mouse visual cortex operation, or sight process center of the brain, significantly changed in operation based on top down processes during learning. Top-down referrs to learning beginning with thought, as opposed to bottom-up which begins with the senses.
The scientists showed that prior perceptions or knowledge of an object significantly affect perception in mice, supporting the long-held theory that the brain does not represent the environment as it stands, but rather attempts to predict it based on known information.
NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Jayaraj Rajagopal, Massachusetts General Hospital, discovered that parent stem cells can serve as niches, or cell maintenance and regulatory environments, for their daughter cells. Published in Nature, this research describes how airway progenitor cells send a forward signal to their progeny cells, and further, shows this signal is necessary for progeny cell maintenance.
Understanding the full mechanisms behind stem cell differentiation and maintenance is key to using stem cells to fulfill the promise of regenerative medicine.
In addition, NYSCF Junior Leadership Council Board Member Brandon Law contributed research and was an author on the paper.
NYSCF Principal Investigator Dr. Valentina Fossati and NYSCF - Druckenmiller Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Panagiotis Douvaras improved a method of deriving oligodendrocyte progenitor cells – the types of brain cells implicated in multiple sclerosis and other disorders – from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in only 55 days. This breakthrough, published in Nature Protocols, describes a robust, reproducible protocol that is significantly faster than previous techniques, enabling researchers to accelerate and complete experiments that have not been possible before. This technique will vastly improve research on multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders as well as accelerate drug testing and new treatment discovery.
NYSCF - Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Edward Chang, University of California, San Francisco, has been named a 2015 Blavatnik National Laureate in Life Sciences for his pioneering work establishing the neural code for human language processing. Dr. Chang's work focuses on how the brain allows us to see and hear.
Winners of the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists represent an elite group of young researchers in the life science, physical science, and engineering disciplines. The awards celebrate current achievements and recognize the immense potential of these young researchers in their chosen fields. Each of the three 2015 Laureates will receive a $250,000 prize - the largest unrestricted prize for young researchers - given by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences.