While society tends to think of stem cell science as a science of the future, there are treatments dating back 30 years that use stem cell science as their basis. Blood stem cells have been successfully used in bone marrow transplants while culturing stem cells from the cornea in the eye has led to successful treatments for blindness. For Dr. Fuchs, the inspiration for her research came when she was a post-doctoral cell biologist in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology laboratory of Dr. Howard Green, who was culturing skin stem cells for use in the treatment of burn patients.
Dr. Fuchs' subsequent work has focused on the biology of stem cells. "In order to use stem cells to our advantage therapeutically, we need to understand how they operate on a very basic, molecular level," she says. Specifically, Fuchs' expertise involves skin and hair, both of which develop from a single type of skin stem cell. Her breakthroughs in understanding how these stem cells make skin and hair and how they repair wounds have led her laboratory to the genetic bases of human skin disorders, including cancers.
According to Ralph Steinman, M.D., senior physician at The Rockefeller University and a 2009 recipient of the Albany Medical Center Prize, "Fuchs' applications of the basic science of skin and its stem cells have had a major impact on our understanding of human genetic diseases of the skin. Throughout her career, she has consistently created new approaches to solving problems that have previously impeded the development of her field. She has also devised sophisticated methods to contribute, in original and effective ways, to the ensuing advances that have bridged basic science and medicine."
Dr. Fuchs is widely credited with developing reverse genetics techniques that have made stem cell and genetic research easi
|SOURCE Albany Medical Center|
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