Newswise — The New York Stem Cell Foundation’s (NYSCF) 16th Annual Conference – held virtually on October 19-20 – convenes global leaders in stem cell research to present their latest progress towards new treatments and cures for the most devastating diseases and injuries in the world.

The two-day conference features discussions on transformative new technologies in the field, moving research from the lab to the clinic, and current challenges facing regenerative medicine. The meeting sessions feature scientific presentations on topics including neurodegenerative disease, regeneration and rejuvenation, diabetes and immunology, organoids, and cancer.

This year’s keynote address (October 19, 10:15 AM) will be given by NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Alumnus and Moderna Founder Derrick Rossi, PhD, who will share his perspective as an mRNA technology pioneer and successful biotech entrepreneur about the genesis of new therapeutic strategies for patients.

A plenary discussion (October 20, 3:45 PM) featuring Tony Coles, MD (Cerevel Therapeutics) and Michelle McMurry-Heath, MD, PhD (Biotechnology Innovation Organization), moderated by Susan L. Solomon, JD (NYSCF Research Institute) will explore the future of translational research and strategies for deploying scientific breakthroughs to improve human health. Themes like how different stakeholders can more effectively translate discoveries into therapies, taking on health inequity, incorporating the patient voice into research, and ensuring access to biomedical breakthroughs for diverse communities will be discussed.

A panel discussion on next-generation cancer therapies (October 19, 2:45 PM) featuring Jose Conejo-Garcia, MD, PhD (Moffitt Cancer Center), Laura Andres-Martin, PhD (NYSCF Research Institute), Sohrab Shah, PhD (MSKCC) and Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD (MD Anderson Cancer Center) will discuss how to leverage the power of organoid cultures, CAR-T cells and computational methods, among others, to enable personalized cancer treatments. 

Another panel discussion will focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in STEM (October 20, 10:05 AM) and features Marie Bernard, MD (National Institutes of Health), Valentina Greco, PhD (Yale University), Shane Liddelow, PhD (NYU Grossman School of Medicine), Carolyn Rodriguez, MD, PhD (Stanford University) and Raeka Aiyar, PhD (NYSCF Research Institute). Actionable strategies to effectively remove barriers for systematically marginalized groups in STEM will be explored.

Sessions will include:

Neurological Diseases

This session will focus on how stem cell-derived neurons and glia are delivering unique insights into how the brain malfunctions in neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders such as Parkinson’s and PTSD. We will also hear the latest developments in cell replacement therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

Highlighted speakers:

Diabetes & Immunology

Speakers will discuss our current understanding of the pathogenesis of diabetes, strategies for preventing the immune system’s recognition of beta cells, and the latest progress on universally transplantable, immune-evasive therapeutic cell products.

Highlighted speakers:

Advanced Organoid Models of Disease

Experts will share the latest advances in organoid technology to enable more accurate disease modeling. They will also share how different tissues can be integrated into multi-organ 3D structures to closely recapitulate human physiology in a dish.

Highlighted speakers:

Regeneration & Rejuvenation

This session will dive into the mechanisms underlying changes in stem cells as a result of aging, disease, or interaction with niches. It will also highlight innovations in genome editing tools for cell and gene therapy, and the future of the regulatory landscape for regenerative medicine.

Highlighted speakers:

  • Ya-Chieh Hsu, PhD (Harvard University) will share her studies aimed at understanding how stem cells regulate skin regeneration, function, and repair (October 20, 12:10 PM)
  • Celia Witten, MD, PhD (US Food and Drug Administration) will provide a regulatory perspective on stem cell research and therapies, discussing how scientists, clinicians, and the government can best collaborate to bring promising treatments to the clinic (October 20, 12:30 PM)

This year’s program will also showcase five short talks (October 19, 2:10 PM ET) and an interactive poster session (October 19, 3:45–5:00 PM ET) featuring selected abstracts from scientists at diverse career stages at over 50 institutions worldwide.

The full conference agenda can be found at http://www.nyscf.org/conference. Limited media passes are available upon request to [email protected]