Posts Tagged ‘stem cells’

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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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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I’m leaving for ASH 2010 on Thursday!  Woooo!  As I mentioned before, this is the 52nd annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.  I’m super excited for the opportunity to attend and blog from this event!  Daily updates will be posted here on AlbinoMouse, while blogs from a few key events will be posted to the Stem Cell Network blog.

Links to check out this week:

  1. Peter from Science of Blogging discusses why all scientists should blog.  I could not agree more!  Before this blog, I was deathly sick of the daily routine that is research.  Writing about science really helped me to rediscover those things about science that I love the most.  Plus, I’ve met a lot of cool people and gotten some pretty neat opportunities as well!
  2. Continuing the tale of cool biologists: Side-Line Magazine reports that electronic music artist Sara Noxx is teaming up with forensic biologist Mark Benecke for a cover of “Where the Wild Roses Go”.  Dr. Benecke is a high profile consultant who has previously worked on identification of Hitler’s skull.  He’s also a punk musician on the side….!
  3. And now on the topic of rockstar biologists, did you know that Bad Religion frontman Greg Graffin has taught classes in evolutionary biology at UCLA? Thanks to DiscoverMagazine!

All for now.  Next time you hear from me I’ll be in Florida!

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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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I’ve been in writing over-drive as I realized that indeed, the more I write, the more views I get.  😛  Now I know that there’s a lot of you reading (thanks WordPress stats!) but many of you seem to be the strong and silent type. I would encourage everyone to leave comments if they have a question, suggestions, or just want to call bs on something I write.

Interesting stories from the past few days in science:

  1. You can’t seem to leave the house the last few weeks without hearing about a new feat in stem cell technology.  Most recently, Nature published a paper which describes the transformation of skin cells into blood cells without the need of first passing through a stem cell state. Crazy stuff – see a summary from Nature News here.
  2. If you haven’t heard about the Rockstars of Science initiative yet, check it out!  This campaign paired leading scientists with big name musicians in an attempt to demonstrate the importance of science to the public.  Interesting new idea, check it out in GQ’s December “Men of the Year” issue and read about it on The Intersection.
  3. It’s one of those eternal life mysteries you always wondered about… well here it is, the physics of cat lapping milk from Wired!

I have a few ideas in the works for blogs: look for a piece on rodent anesthesia coming up and also a few fish stories.  I’ve managed to find a few newsletter articles that I’ve done as well and may repost them here.


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