HSCI/California Junior Faculty Symposium

For the sixth time in as many years, an invited group of HSCI’s Junior Faculty started off this academic year by meeting with some of their California colleagues to share their latest findings and new ideas.

The group was able to take advantage of the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology’s new meeting space in its renovated labs on the Harvard campus. Scientific equipment company Leica Microsystems and the journal Science Translational Medicine joined HSCI in sponsoring the meeting, with the goal of developing collaborations among leading young scientists in the country who share the mission of using stem cell research to find better treatments and cures for a host of degenerative and often fatal diseases.

Coordinated by HSCI Principal Faculty members Trista North, PhD, Wolfram Goessling, MD, PhD, and Paola Arlotta, PhD, the two-day program was packed with presentations on current research — much of it not yet published — by 17 HSCI investigators as well as 15 scientists associated with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) from San Francisco to San Diego. Also in attendance were journal representatives from Cell Stem Cell, Nature Cell Biology, and Science.

Discussion focused on the major scientific questions in areas such as pluripotency and self-renewal, epigenetics and reprogramming, development and regeneration of an array of organ systems, and a variety of other topics spanning the spectrum of current stem cell science.

Its evening reception was held at Harvard’s Arthur M. Sackler Museum and had a private showing of the exhibit: Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe. The exhibit showed how artists contributed to scientific investigation as their images served both as instruments for research and as agents in the dissemination of knowledge.The group saw that although technology has changed in the intervening 500 years many of the underlying questions and challenges have not.

In keeping with the bi-coastal tradition, the 2012 meeting will be held in California and hosted by CIRM.