Salons focus on drug discovery and tissue engineering

HSCI’s salons provide a collegial, casual setting in which members of the HSCI research community can learn about and discuss some of the latest technologies and issues in stem cell research from experts both within and outside the institute.

Held three times during the academic year, the salons have become an increasingly popular way for HSCI investigators to keep pace with what’s happening in the rapidly evolving field of stem cell research, in particular with technologies that cut across domains and disciplines.

The first salon of the year addressed cellular imaging. The second salon, held in February and hosted by HSCI principal faculty member Lee Rubin, PhD, and Executive Committee chair Leonard Zon, MD, focused on “Stem Cells and Drug Discovery.” Representing the perspectives of industry in this dynamic area of stem cell research were discussants Michael Venuti, PhD, of iPierian; Sandra Engle, PhD, of Pfizer; Joshua Babiarz, PhD, of Hoffman-La Roche; and Daniel Curtis, PhD, of Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. The evening’s discussions centered on the broad potential of stem cells in the discovery of new compounds for the treatment of diseases, and how advances using stem cell based drug screens in the laboratory can be translated for use in clinical settings.

Tissue engineering — the creation of engineered living tissue for repairing or replacing tissue or organs — was the topic of a salon in April, the third and final gathering of this academic year.

Hosted by HSCI principal faculty member Elliot Chaikof, MD, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the salon brought together tissue engineering experts from academia, industry, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to discuss different aspects of tissue design and the regulatory issues involved in moving this technology from bench to bedside.

The guest discussants were Kimberly Benton, PhD, of the FDA; Marie Csete, MD, PhD, of iFluidics and the University of California at San Diego; and Laura Niklason, MD, PhD, of Yale University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Benton discussed the regulatory considerations for regenerative medicine products and Csete spoke about the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in the development of bioengineered devices. Niklason used the example of lung repair to address the progress and challenges in repopulating decellularized tissues.