For stem cell research to reach its potential as regenerative medicine, stem cell scientists must collaborate not only with each other, but also with experts in the field of bioengineering, which applies the principles and methods of engineering to solve medical problems.
The value of this type of interdisciplinary collaboration was powerfully demonstrated with the recent creation of a functioning strip of heart muscle. This achievement—considered a giant step toward using human stem cells to repair damaged hearts—was borne out of a collaboration between HSCI faculty members Kenneth Chien, MD, PhD, a stem cell biologist, and Kevin Kit Parker, PhD, a biomedical engineer.
As part of its continuing effort to foster and participate in interdisciplinary collaborations, HSCI was one of the sponsors of the Society for Biological Engineering’s second International Conference on Stem Cell Engineering, held recently in Boston.
This year’s conference, “Engineering Cell Fate,” covered a wide range of topics that included tissue engineering and regeneration using stem cells, novel approaches for adult stem cell growth and differentiation, cancer stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell programming and disease models.
In addition to being one of the sponsoring organizations, HSCI played a major role in the conference. HSCI Executive Committee member George Daley, MD, PhD, co-chaired the event with Peter Zandstra, PhD, of the University of Toronto, and was also an invited speaker. Other HSCI speakers were Lee Rubin, PhD, Amy Wagers, PhD, Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD, and Co-Director Douglas Melton, PhD, who gave a closing keynote address.