Welcome everyone to Episode 81 of The Stem Cell Podcast. As always go to stemcellpodcast.com for all of our episodes and to sign up for the newsletter.
The Science Round Up
We begin with the world famous Science Round Up and discuss the latest science/stem cell news including:
- Microcephaly cases surge in Columbia due to Zika.
- Extra chromosome slows cancer cell growth.
- Gut microbes may regulate Parkinson’s deficits.
- Telomere trimming in stem cells.
- Generation of long-term self-renewing human epicardial cells from stem cells.
- A new rapid screen for endodermal differentiation potential of stem cells.
- A new model to assess Zika virus infection in a developing brain.
The interview with Drs. Kevin Eggan and Michael Wells…
For the interview portion of the show, sponsored by STEMCELL Technologies, we bring on Drs. Kevin Eggan and Michael Wells. Eggan is a Professor in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University. He has made fundamental contributions to the fields of stem cell biology and cellular reprogramming, which in turn led his group to pioneer an entirely new strategy for studying human disease. His lab’s experiments exploring stem cells as a renewable source of motor neurons for studying mechanisms leading to neural degeneration were the first “stem cell models” of disease. On this show, he joins us along with a post-doctoral fellow from his lab, Michael Wells, to discuss their latest publication on investigating mechanisms of infection in Zika virus. After this we close the show with a signature SCP rant. Enjoy!
Below are all of the papers mentioned on the show. We are working on a way to categorize all of the research papers we mention and possibly even provide audio summaries. Enter in your name and e-mail address below, and we will notify you of when this feature is available.
Resources, Links and Research Papers Mentioned in This Session Include:
Microcephaly Cases Surge in Colombia Following Rise in Zika Infections – According to this article, Colombia saw a surge on 2016 in babies with microcephaly — more than four times the number reported in the previous year caused by Zika virus infections.
Having an Extra Chromosome Slows Cancer Cell Growth – This article reveals that smaller tumors, less cancer-driving proteins are seen with cells with an extra copy of a chromosome — known as trisomic cells.
Gut Microbes Mix May Regulate Motor Deficits in Parkinson’s – In this article, gut impulse signals from gut microbes can activate immune cells called microglia in the mouse brain, causing inflammation that’s characteristic of Parkinson’s disease.
Solar Panels are Almost Truly Green – This article reports that solar panels are about to break even on their energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.
Telomere Balance Between Elongation and Trimming in Stem Cells – According to this article, researchers report that telomere length is determined by the balance between telomere elongation, which is mediated by telomerase, and telomere trimming, which is controlled by XRCC3 and Nbs1, homologous recombination proteins that generate single-stranded C-rich telomeric DNA and double-stranded telomeric circular DNA (T-circles), respectively.
Long-Term Self-Renewing Human Epicardial Cells Generated From Pluripotent Stem Cells Under Defined Xeno-Free Conditions – In this article, researchers show that the temporal modulation of canonical Wnt signalling is sufficient for epicardial induction from six different human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) lines, including a WT1-2A-eGFP knock-in reporter line, under chemically defined, xeno-free conditions.
Development of a Rapid Screen for the Endodermal Differentiation Potential of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Lines – This article reports that researchers have developed a rapid small molecule based screen to assess the endodermal potential (EP) of hPSCs, based solely on definitive endoderm (DE) morphology.
Genetic Ablation of AXL Does Not Protect Human Neural Progenitor Cells and Cerebral Organoids from Zika Virus Infection – In this article, Dr. Kevin Eggan and his team of researchers show that genetic ablation of AXL has no effect on ZIKV entry or ZIKV-mediated cell death in human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived NPCs or cerebral organoids.
Photo Reference: Courtesy of Dr. Kevin Eggan