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Spotlight on Stem Cells

Elaine Fuchs and Craig Venter touted the promise of stem cell research at the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting.

By | December 16, 2013

Elaine Fuchs, Craig VenterROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY/J. CRAIG VENTER INSTITUTEDiscussing her work to decipher the transition from stem cell quiescence to activation at the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) annual meeting this week, Rockefeller University’s Elaine Fuchs said that for as much as researchers know about these progenitor cells, there is much left to learn. “There is a lot of exciting science left to do in the stem cell field,” Fuchs said during her keynote talk on the biology of stem cells, in which she spoke about her group’s work investigating cancer stem cells and the niche-specific signals that instruct stem cells to divide at certain times, like during periods of hair growth.

Craig Venter took the stage immediately after Fuchs. “I learned tonight that I am not bald, I just have quiescent stem cells,” he joked. In his talk, Venter noted that advances in single-cell sequencing technology and synthetic genomics have been a boon for stem cell research, allowing researchers to pinpoint the genetics of stemness. He and his colleagues are now “developing methods to rewrite the genetic code of stem cells,” he said. 

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