Skin Program

Restoring vision

November 26, 2019

A stem cell therapy for cornea regeneration reaches the clinical-trial stage

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By Jessica Lau

As the eye’s outer layer of protection, the cornea needs to constantly regenerate to maintain a clear surface. Losing the cornea-regenerating stem cells leads to cloudiness — like trying to see...

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Healing without scars

November 7, 2018

George Murphy wants to use stem cells to replace scarring with regenerative healing.

  • George Murphy’s goal is to coax skin stem cells into healing wounds by regenerating tissue instead of forming a scar.
  • To figure out how to do it, he is studying scarless healing during fetal development and “stem cell burnout” during aging.
  • Insights into scarless healing will help research into regenerating other vital organs, including the heart.

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Can we restore sight?

November 7, 2018

Markus Frank and his colleagues are reprogramming skin cells with the goal of giving people back their sight.

  • Seed funding from HSCI led Markus Frank and his colleagues to discover that the cell surface molecule ABCB5 can be used to identify limbal stem cells, which regenerate the cornea.
  • The team is developing ABCB5-positive cell therapy as a treatment for vision loss due to limbal stem cell deficiency.

Markus Frank, M.D., co-leader of the HSCI Skin Program, is reprogramming stem cells from the skin...

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Ya-Chieh Hsu named 2017 Pew scholar

June 19, 2017

Ya-Chieh Hsu, PhDWe are proud to announce that Ya-Chieh Hsu, PhD, has been selected by the Pew Charitable Trust to receive an early-career award that will fund her research for the next four years.

Hsu joined the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB) as an assistant professor in 2014, at which time she also became Principal Faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Her research is focused on uncovering the function and potential of transit-amplifying skin cells, which play a key role in tissue development, regeneration, and are especially sensitive to chemotherapy drugs. Understanding the role these cells play in skin regeneration could lead to the development of therapies that alleviate or prevent some of the side effects of chemotherapy, such as hair loss and compromised wound healing.

We asked Hsu to share her impressions upon receiving the award.

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