Today an Innovative Virtual Stem Cell Conference is Taking Place

Today Life Technologies is presenting 24 Hours of Stem Cells, an innovative approach to the virtual conference. After logging in, you are brought into a virtual conference hall with several options to explore, including an Exhibit Hall, Resource Center, Live Chat area and the Auditorium. In the Auditorium there are more than 20 presentations available on-demand with scheduled Q and A sessions available with presenters.

So far I have attended three presentations and I have outlined a bit from each presentation below:

Pluripotency and Differentiation by Alexander Meissner, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University

Dr. Meissner presents a very interesting review of his lab’s work on studying and characterizing human pluripotent cells. In one of the shared examples, they examine the changes that take place that lead to the specification of cells into all of the three germ layers – ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm. In one example, they use a heat map to determine which genes up regulated and down regulated based on the different germ layers to see the epigenetic remodeling that happens during differentiation, paying particular attention to which areas undergo the most change. The hope is that characterizing the cells and the epigenetic dynamics will lead to a better understanding of the differentiation propensities and ultimately will lead to safer cell therapies in the future.

Reprogramming Human Blood Cells for Regenerative Medicine by Elias Zambidis, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Oncology and Pediatrics, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Dr. Zambidis presents a series of innovative strategies for generation of non-integrated human induced pluripotent cells. He presents why they believe that hematopoietic progenitors make ideal donors for clinically safe hiPSCs based therapies. They also present an optimized system for generation of non-integrated hiPSCs from bone marrow stromal cell-primed myeloid progenitors and the advantages of this system. Some advantages included increased episomal reprogramming efficiency and fewer reprogramming associated abberations than other iPSCs lines.

He goes on to talk about their work in generation of hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes and how their system eliminated much of the variations and increased efficiency. Lastly, Dr. Zambidis covers their fascinating work in differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into vascular progenitors and their work in using these cells for potential treatment of many blinding eye diseases.

Considerations for Culturing Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Shayne Boucher, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Cell Biology and Stem Cell Sciences, Life Technologies

Dr. Boucher presents a very informative overview of mesenchymal stem cell culture including important considerations like seeding density, passage duration, morphology, immunophenotype and their differentiation potential. He also presented interesting comparisons of cell differences seen in serum-containing vs. serum-free media formulations and presented various cell culture media and matrices options. He also lays out a typical workflow for one week of mesenchymal cell culture and how these cells can be used for research purposes.

Overall the Life Technologies 24 hours of stem cells is a very interesting way to hold a virtual stem cell conference and share information in a way that is completely on demand.

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