Stem cell researcher and neuroscientist Dr. Su-Chun Zhang discusses his work and latest paper in Cell Stem Cell. His paper looks at grafting human pluripotent stem cells in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease.

Resources and Links

Scientists Talk Privately about Creating a Synthetic Human Genome – Scientists are now contemplating the fabrication of a human genome, meaning they would use chemicals to manufacture all the DNA contained in human chromosomes.

Second Skin’ May Reduce Wrinkles, Eyebags, Scientists Say – Researchers said a “second skin” composed of commonly used chemicals like siloxanes can be painted on your skin and give it the elasticity of youth.

Faulty Gene Can Turn Colds Deadly for Babies, Toddlers – This article reveals that some children have rare genetic variants that can turn their first encounter with colds and other respiratory viruses deadly.

Australia Will Release Herpes into Its Rivers to Wipe Out Invasive Carp – This article reports that the Australian government plans to use a herpes virus to eradicate the country’s most devastating invasive species—common carp.

The US Is about to Hit a Big Solar Energy Milestone – The US is on track to hit a big number in renewable energy: more than 1 million American homes should have solar panels by February 2016.

Stem Cells Are Dangerously Overhyped, Warn Researchers – A study recently published says it’s time for everyone—from the media, to press officers, to journal publishers and even the scientists themselves—to chill out about stem cells.

New Stem Cell Discovery Could Boost Corn Crop Yields by an Astounding 50 Percent – This article reports that a newly discovered stem cell signaling pathway could boost yields from corn and other staple crops by up to 50 percent in the very near term.

Zika Virus Disrupts Neural Progenitor Development and Leads to Microcephaly in Mice – Researchers found that Asian Zika virus strain SZ01 could infect neural precursor cells in vivo and affect brain development; it replicates efficiently in embryonic mouse brain by directly targeting different neuronal linages.

Zika Virus Depletes Neural Progenitors in Human Cerebral Organoids through Activation of the Innate Immune Receptor TLR3 – This article describes how Zika virus infection leads to microcephaly, using human embryonic stem cell-derived cerebral organoids to recapitulate early stage, first trimester fetal brain development.

Why Lab-Made Stem Cells Might Fail: Errors in DNA Folding – Researchers have discovered one of the reasons why induced pluripotent stem cells don’t always correctly differentiate back into adult cells: the reversion process does not always fully capture the way a cell’s genome is folded up inside its nucleus.

Photo Reference: Courtesy of Dr. Su-Chun Zhang