Engineers drawn to stem cells’ abundance, humanity

There was a time when Eric Shusta’s lab was more reliant on the local butcher shop than you might expect.

To learn more about the blood-brain barrier — the cellular wall between the open ocean of the bloodstream and the protected confines of the brain — and how to trick the body into letting foreign molecules (like drugs for neurological disease) through the barrier’s gates, Shusta needed brains.

UW–Madison Researchers Developing Methods to Edit Genes in Brain Cells

A team is led by SCRMC member Shaoqin Gong, a professor of biomedical engineering at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) and an expert in creating nanomedicines for human health is joining the National Institutes for Health (NIH)’s Somatic Cell Genome Editing Consortium to overcome one of the biggest barriers to such treatments: safely and effectively delivering CRISPR genome editing machinery to the right cells. She and her collaborators, professor of neuroscience Subhojit Roy (SCRMC member), assistant professor of biomedical engineering Krishanu Saha (SCRMC member), and Marina Emborg (SCRMC member) and Jon Levine of the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center are developing nanoparticles capable of delivering CRISPR to neurons in the brain to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.

Faculty awarded funding for high-risk, high-reward research

SCRMC faculty member Darcie Moore, professor of neuroscience; Nasia Safdar, professor of medicine; and Srivatsan “Vatsan” Raman, professor of biochemistry, will receive more than $6.8 million in total funding for studies that are unconventional yet carry the potential to transform the medical field. Unlike standard research project grants, the New Innovator awards do not require preliminary data and pay out in full in the first year of each five-year project so that work can move forward swiftly.

Stem Cells @ 20: The Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine center galvanizes stem cell research

Through the work of the UW-Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center , UW–Madison has remained at the forefront of the field. Launched in May 2007, the center serves as an intellectual and collaborative hub for a broad-based, interdisciplinary research community. Today, more than 600 scientists and students in almost 100 SCMRC labs around campus are working, teaching and studying in the field.