Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD, an investigator with the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine and a principal faculty member at HSCI, was among a number of Harvard researchers awarded special funding by the NIH this past September. Hochedlinger received the New Innovator Award, which provides $1.5 million to support his research over a five year period. He will continue his study of nuclear reprogramming to create cells with properties similar to ES cells – notably, the ability to differentiate into any cell type – by reprogramming adult cells.
This past year, Hochedlinger and other HSCI-affiliated researchers, along with scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Japan’s Kyoto University, published findings concerning innovative ways to reprogram cells to direct their development. Under the NIH grant, Hochedlinger will continue his work on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), embryonic stem cell-like cells he and his team have induced from adult fibroblasts in mouse models. He will examine the molecular nature of reprogramming to lay the groundwork that could lead to reprogramming human adult cells into a pluripotent state. In a follow-on step to such studies, scientists expect to be able to create disease-specific cell lines to understand disease development at a more detailed level than currently is possible.