May 2014 HSCI Community Newsletter
The Harvard Stem Cell Matrix
Upcoming Events
HSCI Retreat: The Future is Now
May 23, 8:30 AM-6:00 PM

ISSCR 12th Annual Meeting
Vancouver Convention Center
June 18 - June 21
HSCI Program and Administrative Director Maureen Herrmann is named a Harvard Hero

HSCI/BCH researcher
Juan Melero-Martin, PhD, wins
Bayer Hemophilia Award
People News
HSCI welcomes two new Principal Faculty members:

Yick W. Fong, PhD, at  

Brigham and HMS, studies biochemistry and gene regulation related to ESC pluripotency. 


Olivier Pourquié, PhD, at HMS, studies vertebrate musculo-skeletal axis development.    

Media Mentions
The Stem Cell Podcast
Kevin Eggan, PhD, talks about his latest work using stem cells to cure ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease.

Bioscience Technology
Article highlights recent papers showing that stress may naturally make stem cells of mature cells. Cites work by Jay Rajagopal, MD, and Ben Humphreys, MD, PhD.
Faculty Staff Assistant
Massachusetts General Hospital - Center for Regenerative Medicine

Research Fellow
Sherwood Lab - Brigham and Women's Hospital
Video: HSCI @10 - looking forward
Co-directors Doug Melton, PhD, and David Scadden, MD, reflect on the progress made at HSCI and what's to come in the next 10 years in this anniversary video. Featured appearances by Amy Wagers, PhD, Richard Lee, MD, and Lee Rubin, PhD.

GDF11 reverses signs of aging in the brain and skeletal muscle
Two Science papers from Lee Rubin, PhD, and Amy Wagers, PhD, find more benefits of protein abundant in young blood.

Last year in Cell, the collaborating labs of Amy Wagers, PhD, and Richard Lee, MD, reported that injections of growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) can reduce the thickening of the heart that typically comes with aging in mice.  


Now, in a paper in Science, Wagers' lab showed that GDF11 also helps aging mice recover from a muscle injury and boosts their performance on running and grip strength tests.


In another study of mice injected with GDF11, the lab of Lee Rubin, PhD, found that GDF11 also encourages growth of new blood vessels and olfactory neurons in the mouse brain. As they reported in a second Science paper, the animals gained a keener sense of smell. In both muscle and the brain, GDF11 appears to work in part by restoring the function of stem cells. Read the story

'Heart disease-on-a-chip'
Kevin Kit Parker, PhD, and William Pu, MD, lead cross-Harvard collaboration that merges iPSC and 'organs-on-chips' technologies

The labs grew, for the first time, functioning human heart tissue carrying an inherited cardiovascular disease (Barth syndrome). The research appears to be a big step forward for personalized medicine, as it is working proof that a chunk of tissue containing a patient's specific genetic disorder can be replicated in the laboratory. The work was published in Nature Medicine. Learn more. 


Read a patient perspective at the Children's Hospital Vector blog

Research Updates