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Center Update

See-through zebrafish, new imaging method put blood stem cells in high-resolution spotlight

For the first time, researchers can get a high-resolution view of single blood stem cells thanks to a little help from microscopy and zebrafish.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of California San Diego have developed a method for scientists to track a single blood stem cell in a live organism and then describe the ultrastructure, or architecture, of that same cell using electron microscopy. This new technique will aid researchers as they develop therapies for blood diseases and cancers.

August 9, 2022

New study identifies protein essential to form stem cell-derived human heart cells

Lab-grown human heart cells provide a powerful tool to understand and potentially treat heart disease. However, the methods to produce human heart cells from pluripotent stem cells are not optimal. Fortunately, a new study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center, is providing key insight that will aid researchers in growing cardiac cells from stem cells.

June 29, 2022

SCRMC researchers uncover how stem cell-derived photoreceptors reach their targets

A new study investigating the growth of photoreceptors may have implications for the treatment of retinal diseases that cause blindness. The study, published in Cell Reports, was led by Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (SCRMC) researcher Timothy Gomez, professor of neuroscience, Sarah Rempel, a postdoctoral researcher in the Gomez lab, and SCRMC researcher David Gamm, professor of ophthalmology.

June 21, 2022

Jacques Galipeau named president of the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy

Increasing place of care manufacturing and deployment of cell therapies is a core mission for Jacques Galipeau, MD, who was recently named president of the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (ISCT).

June 20, 2022

Team of SCRMC researchers awarded Research Forward grant 

A team of Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC) researchers will investigate cell therapy as a treatment for brain disorders, injuries, and aging thanks to a Research Forward grant. The project’s multidisciplinary team, which includes Principal Investigator and SCRMC member Krishanu Saha, hope that this research will lead to advancements in the treatment of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.

June 7, 2022

When age is more than a number: Undergraduate SCRMC lab member Samuel Neuman focuses on regenerative medicine as a way to impede diseases of degeneration and aging

Aging is part of the human experience, but not every experience is the same. Progressive neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s disease present many challenges to patients and their families, and researchers like University of Wisconsin-Madison junior Samuel Neuman are using stem cells and regenerative medicine to find a solution. Read more

May 3, 2022

SCRMC Director Tim Kamp pens perspectives piece for Quarterly magazine

Nearly twenty-five years ago, University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher James Thomson described the first successful derivation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). These cells, which are pluripotent, meaning they can form any cell type and self-renewing, meaning they can grow indefinitely in culture, changed the way diseases are understood and treated. While the past two decades have included dramatic advances, there is still much to learn, and clinical trials are just beginning for a variety of degenerative diseases. Dr. Kamp outlines the opportunities, challenges, and the history of stem cell research in his column “Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine: A long, but promising road” available on page 40 of the spring 2022 Quarterly magazine.  

May 2, 2022


Hundreds attend 16th Wisconsin Stem Cell Symposium focusing on stem cell competition

On April 20, 2022, more than 260 students and researchers gathered for the 16th Wisconsin Stem Cell Symposium in Madison, Wis. Co-hosted by the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC) and the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTC Institute), this annual event highlights the latest advances in stem cell science and technology. This year, the symposium focused on stem cell competition, which has important implications for healthy aging and disease states.

Throughout the day, virtual and in-person attendees heard from seven of the world’s leading researchers studying stem cell competition. Additionally, attendees participated in a rapid-fire poster session that included twelve presentations by graduate and post-doctoral researchers. The conversation continued during the lunch and networking session, with the rapid-fire presenters as well as eighteen other researchers sharing their posters throughout the event hall.

The SCRMC and the BTC Institute thank all who attended as well as the sponsors who helped to make this event a success.

Team of SCRMC researchers help to improve quality control for biomanufacturing stem cells

A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, including members of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC), have developed an innovative methodology that can ultimately be used to advance cutting-edge personalized therapies and disease models.

The study, published in the journal GEN Biotechnology, outlines the new methodology which includes a real-time method for tracking the reprogramming of somatic cells to induce pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) using micropatterning, label-free imaging, and machine learning.

This novel study was led by Kaivalya Molugu, a recent PhD graduate in biophysics who worked in SCRMC faculty member and College of Engineering Associate Professor, Krishanu Saha’s lab where Molugu was funded through a Stem Cell and Regenerative Graduate fellowship. The study was a collaborative project with SCRMC faculty member and Professor of Biological Engineering, Melissa Skala’s lab.

April 21, 2022

College of Engineering

SCRMC lab member Samuel Neuman receives 2022 Barry Goldwater Scholarship

University of Wisconsin-Madison biochemistry and biomedical engineering student Samuel Neuman has been awarded the 2022 Barry Goldwater Scholarship. This prestigious scholarship recognizes outstanding undergraduate students who are pursuing careers in science and was awarded, in part, due to Neuman’s work in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC) faculty member Marina Emborg’s Preclinical Parkinson’s Research Program.

As a member of Emborg’s lab, Neuman studies vehicles for delivering CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing reagents to the brain of multiple model organisms. Through this work, Neuman has earned authorship on a soon-to-be published manuscript. Neuman is also beginning research into a strategic neural-network therapy for Parkinson’s disease and will be conducting research at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development later this year.

April 18, 2022

A science trailblazer retires: Stem cell researcher James Thomson’s legacy changed the future of biology

James Thomson helped the scientific world turn its attention to the shape-shifting stem cells that give rise to all of the building blocks of complex living organisms, from skin and bone, to hearts and blood, to neurons and brains.

After more than 30 years with the University of Wisconsin–Madison and 15 years with the Morgridge Institute for Research, Thomson has announced plans to retire in July 2022.

“There are few scientists in the world, across all of history, with the ability to translate their deep curiosity about life into discoveries that fundamentally change what’s possible for humanity,” says UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “We are all fortunate that Jamie Thomson dedicated his own life and career to such pursuits, and we are especially grateful he did so at UW–Madison. His work has influenced generations of our students and scholars.”

March 3, 2022
Morgridge Institute for Research

UW study finds photoreceptor cells from retinal organoids can replicate key functions of vision

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health have successfully shown that a retinal cell type derived from human pluripotent stem cells is capable of the complex process of detecting light and converting that signal to electrical waves. Co-author and Stem Cell Center member, Dr. Gamm noted, “The more we can push retina organoids to perform at a high level in a [cell culture] dish, the more confidence we have that they may help patients with blinding disorders. So, it’s a big leap in human pluripotent stem cell technology in terms of its applications to retinal disease.”

February 2, 2022

Antisense therapy in a rat model of Alexander disease reverses GFAP pathology, white matter deficits, and motor impairment

Gain-of-function mutations in the GFAP gene are the cause of Alexander disease (AxD), a leukodystrophy characterized by motor and cognitive impairments and seizures, among other symptoms. Co-researchers from the Messing Lab at UW-Madison’s Waisman Center helped develop a rat model of AxD that closely mimics the clinical phenotype and showed that the animals developed the major hallmarks of AxD as they matured.

Nov. 18, 2021
Science Translational Medicine

UW Health treats first patient in U.S. with investigational cell therapy for heart disease

Appleton resident Donald Krause became the first patient in the country last week to undergo an investigational cell therapy for a debilitating heart condition called chronic myocardial ischemia (CMI). Krause was treated by Amish Raval, MD, an interventional cardiologist at UW Health, supported by Peiman Hematti, MD, a bone marrow transplantation hematologist at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

October 29, 2021

Stem cell project to create new model to study brain development and Down syndrome

Center members Dr. Anita Bhattacharyy and Dr. Su-Chun Zhang, in collaboration with Waisman and the University of Washington-Seattle and Seattle Children’s Hospital, have been awarded an $11 million Transformative Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to create a new approach using stem cells that may reveal how brain development in individuals with Down syndrome differs from typically developing individuals, identify features that will help understand their intellectual disability, and find potential targets for therapy. They will also address questions that remain unanswered about brain development overall.

October 7th, 2021
UW News

FDA approves Madison-based skin graft technology to treat burns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved StrataGraft, a topical treatment for severe burns made from skin tissue, providing a boost for Madison-based firm Stratatech. Stratatech was founded in 2000 by SCRMC member Lynn Allen-Hoffman, the first female University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty member to start a biotech company.

June 16, 2021
The Cap Times

UW Begins New Clinical Trial to Treat Fatal Blood Disease in Children, Young Adults

The Food and Drug Administration-approved trial will use a form of transplant that replaces a patient’s bone marrow with alpha-beta T-cell depleted peripheral blood stem cells from closely matched unrelated donors or family members.

May 27, 2021

Stem Cell Research: Celebrating 25 Years Of Amazing Discoveries

Over the past two decades, stem cell research at UW-Madison has grown from involving a handful of scientists to nearly 100 from more than 30 schools, colleges and departments.

May 25, 2021
Quarterly Magazine, Vol. 23, No. 1

SCRMC member Daniel Z. Radecki recognized for his commitment to improving the lives of all postdocs

Nine University of Wisconsin–Madison postdoctoral researchers have been recognized with the inaugural Postdoc Excellence Awards for their teaching, service and mentoring. Daniel Z. Radecki (Comparative Biosciences) received one of these awards.

“The defining feature of Dan’s work with the (UW–Madison Postdoctoral Association) and others is his commitment to bettering the lives of all postdocs. He envisions how each event and initiative can best impact the individual, through the lenses of diversity and inclusion, immigration status, postdocs’ personal lives (e.g. childcare considerations), department/discipline, and more.”

Congratulations, Daniel!

April 29, 2021

Micro-molded ‘ice cube tray’ scaffold is next step in returning sight to injured retinas

Researchers at UW–Madison have made new photoreceptors from human pluripotent stem cells. However, it remains challenging to precisely deliver those photoreceptors within the diseased or damaged eye so that they can form appropriate connections, says David Gamm, director of the McPherson Eye Research Institute and professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

“While it was a breakthrough to be able to make the spare parts — these photoreceptors — it’s still necessary to get them to the right spot so they can effectively reconstruct the retina,” he says. “So, we started thinking, ‘How can we deliver these cells in a more intelligent way?’ That’s when we reached out to our world-class engineers at UW–Madison.”

Metabolic switch may regenerate heart muscle following heart attack

Research from the University of Wisconsin–Madison finds that a new therapeutic approach for heart failure could help restore cardiac function by regenerating heart muscle. In a study recently published in the journal Circulation, the UW team describes its success in improving, in a mouse model, the function of heart muscle by temporarily blocking a key metabolic enzyme after a heart attack. This simple intervention, the researchers say, could ultimately help people regain cardiac function. “Our goal was to gain new understanding of how the heart can heal itself following injury at the molecular and cellular level and see if there was a way to restore cardiac function to an earlier state,” says UW–Madison’s Ahmed Mahmoud, professor of cell and regenerative biology in the School of Medicine and Public Health.

Learn more about the research here.
April 15, 2021

Clinical Hematopoietic Cell Processing Laboratory achieves more than minimal manipulation accreditation from FACT

Peiman Hematti, MD, is the director of Clinical Hematopoietic Cell Processing Laboratory at UW-Madison. Much of his research is aimed at improving post-transplant immunological complications, such as graft-versus-host disease. But Hematti and his team are also working to develop and test new cellular therapies for cancer treatment.

His lab’s ability to do that took a giant step forward in late 2020 when they received word from FACT – the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy – that the lab had received certification to do “more than minimal cell manipulation.”

“This is a big deal,” Hematti said. “We are the only lab on campus that has this accreditation, which is the culmination of years of working hard and proving that we can do it right and credit goes to our entire team and especially our senior cell therapy lab specialists.”

April 7, 2021

UW Health

Individualized brain cell grafts reverse Parkinson’s symptoms in monkeys

Grafting neurons grown from monkeys’ own cells into their brains relieved the debilitating movement and depression symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison reported today. In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine the UW team describes its success with neurons made from cells from the monkeys’ own bodies after reprogramming to induced pluripotent stem cells. UW–Madison neuroscientist Su-Chun Zhang, whose Waisman Center lab grew the brain cells, said this approach avoided complications with the primates’ immune systems and takes an important step toward a treatment for millions of human Parkinson’s patients. Learn more about their work here.
March 1, 2021

UW vision researchers partner with U.S. Department of Defense to develop stem cell therapy for combat-related eye injuries

The project, led by David Gamm, MD, PhD, director of the McPherson Eye Research Institute and professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, will develop a transplantable patch to restore vision to members of the armed forces who have been injured by blasts or lasers.
December 11, 2020

New Visualization Method Gets to the Heart of Parkinson’s Disease

This week, the NIH Office of Research Infrastructure Programs highlights Dr. Marina Emborg, her WNPRC lab team and their UW–Madison colleagues’ advances in detecting heart disease in Parkinson’s and evaluating new therapies that specifically target nerve disease within the human heart.
December 2020

Celebrating 25 Years of Embryonic Stem Cell Research at UW–Madison

It’s been 25 years since University of Wisconsin–Madison scientist James Thomson became the first in the world to successfully isolate and culture primate embryonic stem cells. He accomplished this breakthrough first with nonhuman primates at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center in 1995, using rhesus monkey cells, then in 1996 with marmoset cells. Thomson then published his world-changing breakthrough on human embryonic stem cell derivation in Science on Nov. 6, 1998.
November 6, 2020

Study points way to possible new treatment for ligament injuries

“EEMs and exosomes each have attractive characteristics as therapeutics,” Dr. Hematti, UW-Madison’s Department of Medicine, noted.” As a cell therapy, EEMs will not proliferate or differentiate to undesirable cell types, which remains a concern for many stem cell therapies. Moreover, EEMs could be generated from a patient’s own monocytes using off-the-shelf exosomes, resulting in a faster and more facile process compared to autologous MSCs. Alternatively, exosome therapy could be a cell free, shelf-stable therapeutic to deliver biologically active components.” “Altogether, we believe our studies’ results support the use of EEMs and/or exosomes to improve ligament healing by modulating inflammation and tissue remodeling,” Dr. Vanderby concluded.
November 3, 2020

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