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Archive for the ‘Stem Cells’ Category

Teleost fish are unique in that they are able to regenerate many different types of tissues throughout their lives, including cardiac, retinal, and renal (kidney) tissues.  Many of these regenerative abilities occur through the action of stem-cell like populations.  Identifying stem cells in fish may help researchers identify analogous cells in human tissues. 

The ability of some fish to regenerate renal tissues is particularly interesting because there is currently no known kidney or nephron (the functional unit of kidneys) “stem cell” in humans.  A recent paper looked at using zebrafish to try to identify nephron stem cells. 

To find out more, check out my latest post for the Stem Cell Network.

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I’m going to Germany in the summer and thought I might get some work done while I’m there.  In between the requisite eating and drinking of course.

If anyone hears about any interesting stem cell related research coming out of Germany, please let me know or send the link to the paper!  I would love to contact researchers for a meet and greet and do a little write-up about their work.  I’ll be in and around Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich over three weeks.

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If I were a boxer, there would be some damn epic music playing right now because… I’m baaaaack!  🙂

After a 2 month hiatus, I’m feeling the itch again, as yes, I do have more stuff to say about science and damn it, people are going to listen!  Or at least read and perhaps click on a link once in a while.  I was also partially inspired to come back due to my impending employment in a microbiology lab doing bioinformatics work over the summer. I’m really excited about this opportunity and hopefully I’ll be learning lots.

While I have not been writing for AlbinoMouse, I have been busy writing!  Please check out my current venture, The Outlier Model.  It’s a blog written with my partner about personal finance and living simply.  I’ve also been writing for the Stem Cell Network on homing and attraction in hematopoietic stem cells and news and events in ESC policy.  I’ll be updating AlbinoMouse more regularly again, so please come back and visit.

Cheers – I missed you!

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I’ve been a bad blogger and have not been writing nearly as much as I should. 😦

This week and a bit has probably been one of my most unproductive since the summer, and for that I’m sorry. I’m a bit burned out I think with much writing, both coding and blogging. Hopefully a few days off at Christmas will recharge my batteries!

News the past week and a bit:

  • Shameless self-promotion: My latest blog is up on the Stem Cell Network and recaps the recent annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.  Please check it out!
  • Earlier this year, Metropolis records released “Electronic Saviors”, a 4 CD collection of industrial music to benefit cancer research and patients.  On December 4, they presented the Foundation for Cancer Research and Wellness with a check for over $22k.  Angry music does solve problems!
  • It received limited coverage, earning only a brief mention in Scientific American, but this past Tuesday, the US Senate finally passed the Shark Conservation Act which bans the practice of taking fins from live sharks.  Shark fins are prized in soups and other delicacies, and unfortunately, many countries which profit from the trade still permit shark finning to occur despite the fragile state of many shark populations.  This is a long overdue step in the right direction.

I’m really going to try to push some posts out in the next few days.  Can’t say much more than that, as I have a crap load of stuff on my to-do list!  Stay tuned…

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From Dec 4-7, hematologists, scientists and trainees from around the world gathered in sunny Orlando Florida to discuss the latest in blood diseases and research. Over these three days, the Orange County Convention Centre was host to two poster sessions, presentations from clinical and academic leaders, and an impressive array of exhibitors.

I arrived late December 2 nd and spent the 3 rd shopping and exploring. Orlando is an odd place, with very little “natural” about it. Manicured lawns and carefully arrayed palm trees are the norm. Hotels and restaurants tempt the tourist crowds with ponds of koi, the fish sweltering in the heat and cooled down with influxes of cold water. It is a car city, with stores, hotels, and amenities spread far apart and divided by 6+ lanes of traffic. But it was bright, sunny and warm, and for that, I tried to overlook the funny taste of the water and the supreme lack of fresh food.

Things got going on Saturday with some sessions and breakfast talks already well on their way from as early as 7am. Exhibits opened at 10am sharp. Big Pharma was high in attendance, with appearances from Pfizer, Roche, Johnson and Johnson, and Genentech, to name only a few. Each company tried to out-do each other with high end “hospitality bars” which served gourmet snacks and coffee. Current clinical trials in the areas of leukemia/ myeloma diseases were highly touted, as well as advances in stem cell transplant techniques.

Over the next two days, there were scientific sessions and special lectures around the clock –far too many to attend, much less write about. There was a clear focus on clinical treatments and outcomes, not surprising when ASH caters primarily to clinicians. There were also a surprising number of studies on the usages of cord blood -a growing area for business and medicine. One special lecture of note was the Ham Wasserman lecture on stem cell mobility and homing. I will be writing about this topic in an upcoming Stem Cell Network blog! A few other lectures were interesting, mostly relating to genetic aspects of blood diseases, and I may touch on these topics in later posts.

I was a little disappointed in the poster sessions. Many posters did not have people available to answer questions, which sort of defeated the purpose of having a dedicated poster session. The food was also set up terribly, forcing people to line up even if they just wanted a bit of cheese and bread to nibble with their drink. On Sunday, I had the privilege of attending the President’s Reception, held in the Peabody Hotel. The Peabody is probably best described as a whole hearted attempt at grandiose elegance. I nearly had a heart attack when I entered the reception and saw that most people were seated –I went to the event knowing a grand total of ONE person. It didn’t help when the bartender asked me for ID. But, I eventually got connected with people, had some amazing food (though I didn’t eat as much as I would have liked, definitely the best food I had in Orlando!), and the open bar didn’t hurt either.

Post reception, I had drinks at Rocks, the hotel bar, where I learned that the hotel maintains a cache of special ducks which it parades out front once per day. Huh. Monday, I’ll be honest –I did very little. I was too lazy to get lunch so I grabbed food at the convention centre which subsequently made me violently ill. I have never been so happy to pack up and get to the airport!

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Hi all,

My third blog for the Stem Cell Network is up!  It’s about public perception of stem cells.  Please check it out!!!

Thanks to everyone who gave their opinion for this blog.

For those that didn’t leave a comment, or those who would like to post again (!!!), I would love it if you left a comment on the SCN post.

My next blog for the Stem Cell Network will be about stem cell mobility.  Stay tuned!

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Looks like I’ll be attending the 52nd Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Society of Hematology.  This year’s event is being held in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Centre, December 4-7.  I’ll be attending not as a researcher or programmer, but as a blogger!

As always, there promises to be some interesting discussions.  I’m looking forward to this year’s Ham-Wasserman Lecture, named in honour of the late Thomas Hale Ham, MD and the late Louis R. Wasserman, MD.  The Ham-Wasserman Lecture is given by a individual from outside the United States who has contributed to the field of hematology.  This year’s lecture will be given by Tsvee Lapidot, PhD, from The Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel.  Dr. Lapidot will be presenting a talk entitled, “The Brain-Bone-Blood Triad: Traffic Lights of Stem Cell Homing and Mobilization”.

And of course, whats a conference without receptions?  ASH has three official receptions – a Welcome Reception on Saturday night with finger foods and drinks, and two Poster Hall Receptions on the Sunday and Monday nights, respectively.  If you’re attending, please stop by and say hi!

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