Advancing stem cell research towards translation through partnerships

Members of the community including researchers, students and the general public gained an insight into the partnerships needed to take scientific discoveries from the lab to patients in the clinic.

Members of the community including researchers, students and the general public gained an insight into the partnerships needed to take scientific discoveries from the lab to patients in the clinic at the Centre for Stem Cell Systems’ public event, Stem Cell Partnerships: From Bench to Bedside, on 9 September.

The event, held at the University of Melbourne, showcased the work being done by some of Melbourne’s leaders in stem cell science, and how their research is, through partnership with clinicians and patient groups, advancing our understanding of causes and possible treatments for diseases of the eye, gut and liver. It also provided the audience with the opportunity to meet members of the local stem cell research network, working across various interdisciplinary research themes. Students who attended the event were able to speak directly with stem cell researchers and discuss future opportunities to study stem cells at the University of Melbourne.

The event highlighted four teams who are using stem cells to understand and treat disease:

  • Surgeon Dr Kiryu Yap (St Vincent’s Institute) returned to research to better understand how stem cells can be used to model and repair diseased liver;
  • Researchers Dr Marlene Hao and Dr Lincon Stamp are collaborating with Associate Professor Sebastian King (Royal Children’s Hospital) to grow the nerves in the gut from stem cells, to model a severe childhood disorder, Hirschprung’s disease;
  • Patient Advocate Daniel Feller (Genetic Cures Australia) is partnering with Professor Alice P├ębay to grow stem cells from patients with inherited retinal disease;
  • Dr Matt Rutar demonstrated cellular partnership by applying imaging techniques to stem cell cultures modelling the immune-neural interface in the eye.

“The Centre is building research partnerships back out to our clinical collages and our community partners, to ensure that the quality and the urgency of the questions we are asking are relevant and timely and I think this reflects the future of stem cell research.” concluded Professor Christine Wells, Director of the Centre for Stem Cell Systems.

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