Dr. Clive Svendsen is the Executive Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute at Cedars-Sinai. His lab uses stem cells to develop models and treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. He talks about using stem cells to model spinal muscular atrophy and the blood-brain barrier, and his cell-gene therapy trial for ALS.
Dr. Stefan Irion is the Senior Vice President of Research at BlueRock Therapeutics, a leading engineered cell therapy company with a mission to develop regenerative medicines for intractable diseases. He talks about the company’s Parkinson’s disease trial and the challenges of genetically manipulating stem cells. He also discusses his journey from physician to scientist and his personal connection to Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Amritha Jaishankar is the Executive Director of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF). She is a scientist by training who has devoted her career to developing cures for debilitating and life-threatening conditions of our time and to advancing this field, through various roles in federal, university, and industry settings. She talks about the history of the MSCRF, its programs to promote the commercialization of stem cell-based technologies, and its role in the Maryland stem cell research ecosystem.
Dr. David Hay is the Chair of Tissue Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, where his group is defining novel ways to produce liver tissue from PSCs. They use in vitro derived tissue to better model human liver physiology and to develop supportive cell based therapies for disease. Dr. Hay also founded Stimuliver, a company that is developing a disruptive liver implant to treat critically failing liver function in humans. He talks about hepatocyte differentiation, liver disease modeling, and automating the production of cell therapies.
Dr. Agnete Kirkeby is an Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen and a Group Leader at Lund University. The Kirkeby group studies the factors involved in human neural subtype specification in order to enable production of specific neurons for understanding and treating neurological diseases. They apply advanced human stem cells models to understand how hundreds of human neuronal subtypes are formed during embryo development. She talks about moving stem cell therapies for Parkinson’s disease from animal models to clinical trials, modeling neural tube development, and developing treatments for narcolepsy.