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Georgia Stem Cell Initiative meets on MCG campus Feb. 10

AUGUSTA, Ga. The Georgia Stem Cell Initiative, a partnership of academia, industry and public officials to advance stem cell research in the state and educate the public about its impact, will meet Feb. 10 on the campus of the Medical College of Georgia.

The free daylong symposium is open to the public and designed to give participants an overview of the clinical potential of stem cells in areas such as stroke, heart attack and pediatric brain injury, says Dr. William D. Hill, neuroscientist in the MCG Schools of Medicine and Graduate Studies and meeting organizer.

"We want to build synergy among Georgia's already strong stem cell programs," Dr. Hill says of the dynamic field with broad therapeutic potential. That includes bringing together research universities, such as the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology, with academic medical centers, such as MCG and Emory University, that can carry out clinical trials. As examples, UGA's Steve Dalton recently began collaborating with Dr. Hill and other MCG scientists in studies of the potential for stem cells to enhance stroke recovery and other conditions.

MCG researchers also will be working with UGA scientists and others to develop lines of induced multipotent cells that result from reprogramming of adult cells. In late 2007, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Japan's Kyoto University and Harvard Medical School began sharing their success at turning adult cells into the embryonic-like cells with the potential to become many tissue types.

This is the third meeting of the Georgia Stem Cell Initiative, which formed in 2007 and currently has 125 members who are faculty or trainees at Georgia institutions.

Preregistration is requested at for the event that begins with breakfast at 9 a.m. on the first floor of MCG's Health Sciences Building, off Laney-Walker Boulevard near the R.A. Dent Boulevard intersection. Dr. Frank Treiber, MCG vice president for research development, will welcome participants at 10 a.m.

Speakers and topics include:

  • 10:05 a.m. - Dr. Robert K. Yu, director of the MCG Institute of Molecular Medicine and Science, Neuroscience Institute and Cord Blood bank, "Research Utilization of the MCG Cord Blood Bank."

  • 10:15 a.m. - Dr. David C. Hess, chair of the MCG Department of Neurology and co-director of the Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute, "Potential Clinical Applications of Stem Cells in Stroke Injury."

  • 10:30 a.m. - Dr. Charles S. Cox, pediatric surgeon and adjoint professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Texas-Houston Medical Center, "Progenitor Cell Therapy for Traumatic Brain Injury."

  • 11:15 a.m. - Dr. Anthony Ting, director of Regenerative Medicine, Athersys Inc., "Acute Myocardial Infarction Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Allogenic Stem Cells."

  • Noon - Faculty and students are encouraged to present posters on stem-cell related research during lunch. Posters will be displayed in the main hall of the first floor of the Health Sciences Building.

  • 1:30 p.m. Dr. Carlos M. Isales, director of the regenerative medicine program, MCG Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, will give an overview of his program.

  • 1:45 p.m. - Dr. Steve Dalton, associate professor, biochemistry and molecular biology, UGA Center for Drug Discovery, "Multipotent Cardiovascular Progenitors."

  • 2:15 p.m. - Dr. Erhard Bieberich, biochemist in the MCG Schools of Medicine and Graduate Studies, "Smart Drugs for Smarter Stem Cells Using Sphingolipids to Enhance Stem Cell Differentiation."

  • 2:45 p.m. - Dr. Dave Machacek, researcher, UGA College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, "Development of Ion Channel and Ionotropic Receptor Expression in Human Embryonic Stem Cell Derived Neural Cultures."

  • 3:15 p.m. Rich Carpenedo, graduate research assistant, Georgia Tech, "Engineering Stem Cell Technologies."

  • 3:45 p.m. - Roundtable discussion on how the Georgia Stem Cell Initiative can improve the efficiency of translating scientific discoveries into better care for patients.


Contact: Toni Baker
Medical College of Georgia

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