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For Immediate Release: October 24, 2007
Contact: Gina Hebert, 508-289-7725; ghebert@mbl.edu

Stem-Cell Science Pioneers to Speak at MBL
Lectures open to members of the scientific community

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA — Pioneers in embryonic stem-cell science are among the speakers at the “Frontiers In Human Embryonic Stem Cells” training course being held October 22-27 at the MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) in Woods Hole, Mass.

(Left) Phase contrast image of a human embryonic stem cell colony showing tightly packed cells and well defined borders. (Right) Confocal micrograph of abnormal mitotic figures in human embryonic stem cells. (green= human centromere protein, red = microtubules, blue = DNA. Image Credit: Chris Navara

This advanced laboratory and lecture course, offered for the first time at the MBL, trains scientists in embryonic stem-cell biology and research strategies, including clinical investigation of potential medical applications for the cells. The course exclusively uses federally approved human stem-cell lines that are on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Embryonic Stem Cell Registry.

The course is sponsored by the NIH and is under the direction of Roger Pedersen (Cambridge University, UK) and Gerald Schatten (University of Pittsburgh).

Rudolph Jaenisch, M.D., founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., is a featured speaker in the course. Jaenisch has been breaking ground in embryonic stem-cell science since the 1970s, when he created the first transgenic animals by inserting foreign DNA into the DNA of early mouse embryos. Recently, Jaenisch’s laboratory reached another milestone by demonstrating that embryonic stem cells can be created without using eggs or destroying embryos. Jaenisch will discuss this research in his talk, “In Vitro Reprogramming of Somatic Cells to a Pluripotent State,” on Friday, October 26 at 8:30 p.m. in Speck Auditorium, Rowe Building, MBL Street, Woods Hole.

Earlier in the day, the NIH’s James Battey, M.D., Ph.D., will speak on “Fostering Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research by the National Institutes of Health.” Dr. Battey is vice chair of the NIH Stem Cell Task Force and director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Battey’s talk will be held on October 26 at 4:00 p.m. in Speck Auditorium.

Douglas Melton, Ph.D., co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute at Harvard University and a member of the MBL’s Board of Trustees, will speak at Speck Auditorium on Wednesday, October 24 at 7:00 p.m. Melton has pioneered work on the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into pancreatic beta (insulin-producing) cells, with the goal of growing and developing pancreatic cells for the treatment of diabetes. His talk is titled, “Islets Differentiated from Human Embryonic Stem Cells.”


The MBL is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, visit www.MBL.edu.