Keck School’s stem cell symposium attracts international audience
It was standing room only at the first Stem Cell Symposium hosted by the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC.
Close to 200 researchers, students and postdocs from all over California and the world packed into Aresty Auditorium and an adjacent conference room at USC’s Health Sciences Campus on June 8 to hear scientists from prestigious universities discuss their stem cell research. Participants also explored networking and collaboration opportunities that will help to further connect the state’s stem cell community, brought to the fore by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
“This symposium is a way to highlight research from USC and to bring together the world’s best scientists to talk about their findings and develop connections with each other,” said Andrew McMahon, the incoming director of the Broad Center who will assume the position on July 1. “The CIRM initiative has brought researchers in California together in cross-institutional partnerships, and events like this symposium enable those partnerships to flourish.”
McMahon was one of nine presenters at the event. Others included Cheng-Ming Chuong from USC; Margaret T. Fuller, Roel Nusse and Paul Khavari from Stanford University; Arthur Lander from the University of California, Irvine; Tannishtha Reya from the University of California, San Diego; and Ophir Klein and Jeremy Reiter from the University of California, San Francisco.
The speakers focused on the stem cell niche and its role in development and regeneration.
The stem cell niche — the microenvironment inside an organism where stem cells live — has attracted increasing attention within the stem cell community of late, according to Kathryn Rich, senior program director and a chair of the organizing committee.
“There have not been many conferences about the stem cell niche, and this symposium is an important opportunity to invite stem cell scientists from diverse model systems and backgrounds together to facilitate new ideas and connections,” Rich said. “ We hope this symposium also encourages more students and postdocs into the field.”
The symposium followed an international stem-cell-techniques course offered by the USC Stem Cell Core facility, a central repository of knowledge, resources and technology available to researchers working with stem cells. The course attracted scientists from the United Kingdom, South Korea and Mexico, many of who stayed for the symposium.
Organizing committee members included Rich, Gregor Adams, Kris Kobielak, and Wange Lu. The symposium was funded in part by a grant from CIRM.