January 24, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Heather Main

3 min read

By Heather Main I recently attended the UCSD Health CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network Symposium at the Sanford Consortium, San Diego. There was of course some great academic research presented, including conflicting views on liver stem cell compartments from Roel Nusse and David Brenner, and advances in CRISPR technologies from Matthew Porteus. However, what struck me about this meeting was how well it presented patient need and churned emotions outside the normal excitement or skepticism of an academic/basic science conference. Shirley Johnson is …Read More

4 min read

By Heather Main I moved to the San Diego from Australia in August 2015, and Paul asked me if I could write something on my first impressions of doing science in the US, as opposed to other countries I have worked/studied in (Australia, Scotland, Sweden and Singapore). If you look at the land size of Australia and consider that we have only 7% of the US population you will understand directly that funding and collaborative opportunities are not as easy to find. There’s probably …Read More

4 min read

By Heather Main This year I will be attending the World Stem Cell Summit for the first time (see @WSCSummit on Twitter). I was surprised when I looked at the program and recognized so few of the names of speakers; which made me question what this event was about, if not focused on stem cell research. This was a relatively naïve step from someone who has spent their entire academic career working on mouse embryonic stem cells and attending academic-focused conferences, far away from human …Read More

5 min read

By Heather Main I was a little ashamed of myself that I didn’t know who half of the finalists were in Paul Knoepfler’s Stem Cell Person of the Year Award. I decided to look into it and find out what (or who) I have missed…..Interestingly, 3 of the 7 listed here are not scientists but instead are patients and/or patient advocates, showing the major impact these groups have on progression of our field. I have listed my write-ups of the Stem Cell Person of …Read More

3 min read

By Heather Main (from Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa) Mesa, one of my first Spanish words since moving to California. The isolated flat-topped hill with steep sides where I have just had the pleasure of listening to some of the best basic and applied science. Mountains of various sorts formed the metaphor of CIRM 2.0 with Randy Mills (President/CEO of CIRM) describing the ‘giant boulder of love and happiness’ that academia pushes and industry pulls over the mountain of regulation, safety and efficacy bringing cures to …Read More

4 min read

By Heather Main What countries are doing disproportionately well given their size on their stem cell research? When reading through the ISSCR 2015 program you can understand why everyone wants to go to the US for their postdoc as it seems like most of the work being presented is US-based. In fact, this is more than true with 78 of 156 speakers being USA based, a straight 50% of the program. Coming in second is Germany with 11 speakers. Being an Aussie I wanted …Read More

4 min read

What’s on your mind on this Monday morning and are you caffeinated enough yet? Depending on where you live it may even be time for dinner, bed, or already early Tuesday. Here are some Monday musings… To get safe and effective stem cell treatments to patients in a responsible, compliant manner you need commercial efforts and that in almost all cases means biotechs. Doing this blog for 5+ years has made it really sink in just how crucial the commercial side is to all …Read More

4 min read

The path to the clinic is a slow and arduous activity, frustrating not only to the researcher and patient, but investors and biotech companies. Successful clinical translation of technologies requires a balance of science, streamlined translation and funding. To develop fantastic science and then realise the most important components cannot be adapted to the clinical environment is as disastrous as having a great product but no cash to get it past the post. The fruitful interaction of researchers, companies and clinics will save a …Read More

4 min read

Organoids are pretty big in stem cells right now with the last couple of years having attracted a lot of media attention on mini lungs, mini brains, mini kidneys, mini guts and more, giving the impression that scientists know how to specify and organise cells into mini functional organs in the lab. Organoids have become a hot topic in a stem cell environment where our understanding of disease is limited by studying only cell autonomous effects in single cells. If Thursdays ISSCR 2015 plenary …Read More

4 min read

The day of plenary is the most enjoyable in my view including at ISSCR 2015 on the first day with a Yamanaka talk. You don’t need to make the choice between sessions and the judgement on the viability of shifting sessions versus staying put and listening to the slightly less relevant. ISSCR 2015 plenary was, as to be expected, full of the big names, the affectionately known Rusty (Fred Gage), Jonas Frisen (one of the smartest MD PhDs I have ever met) and of …Read More