Female scientists from NSCI- Dr. Liz Fisher, Dr. Xiuli Zhao, and Christy Allen recently took part in the Flying Cloud Institute’s, Young Women In Science, STEM Summer Practicum Program. This program is aimed at inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM through innovative collaborations with mentors in the field. The program held at Bard College at Simon’s Rock featured the female scientists teaching interactive and highly engaging activities. They worked with the participants to build an eye using a Fresnel lens and index card, which they used to demonstrate the properties of the cornea, iris, and retina. Next, they explored the anatomy of the eye by dissecting a cow eye and learning how the different parts function.
We would like to congratulate Alima Ahmed for winning the Biomedical Sciences Excellence Award. This prestigious award recognizes the outstanding achievement of high school students in biomedical sciences research. While Alima is a student volunteer in the Boles Lab at the Neural Stem Cell Institute, she is also a junior at Shaker High School, Latham, NY. The award includes a scholarship valued at $20,000 given by the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She won the award in March 2018 at the Greater Capital Region Science and Engineering Fair held at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Most importantly, the yearly event brings together high school students from across the Capital Region and provides an opportunity for students to showcase their STEM-based research. Her hard work and dedication make her a worthy recipient of this award. We look forward to her future accomplishments.
In recent years hundreds of unregulated stem cell treatment centers have cropped up across the U.S. These clinics claim to offer treatments for a wide variety of diseases and ailments by using patients’ own stem cells. These centers often use high-pressure sales tactics to prey on individuals and families who are desperate for cures. All the while, the ongoing use of these questionable and unproven practices risk poisoning the public’s good will and could jeopardize legitimate research programs whose results may still be years away.
In a recent article the Washington Post details the experiences of one individual who lost her vision after one such treatment. This is a highly recommended read that also highlights the work of attorney Andrew Yaffa in pursuing these dubious centers as well as comments from our founder Sally Temple.
Dr. Temple contributed to a recent article on a stem cell clinical trial that has recently received the Food and Drug Administration’s new Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designation.
Read more about how this new designation will help to promote the advancement of legitimate stem cell therapies: https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/51539/title/Trends-in-Synthetic-Biology–Antibody-Engineering/
Dr. Anne Messer was one of two experts chosen to present a webinar for The Scientist (March 8, 2018.) Antibodies are the fastest growing class of synthetic therapeutics, and Dr. Messer’s presentation covered their development and use as therapeutics and markers for neurodegenerative diseases. She described cutting-edge design and optimization approaches, as well as offering insight on future directions in antibody engineering. Human stem cell lines and assays at NSCI allow screening and testing for which of these engineered antibodies and their variants should be carried forward as clinical drug candidates. The session had 581 registrants and 148 live viewers who also asked questions at the end of the presentations.