Future leaders and current leaders in stem cell research come together at UB symposium

Overview of the Graduate Student Poster Session at the 1st Annual Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine Symposium. Photo Credit: The Onion Studio.

by Emily Sugarman

Published September 1, 2017

The First Annual Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine (SCiRM) Symposium was an exciting and stimulating event that brought together leaders from around the world in the field of stem cells. 

“Events like the annual symposium bring leaders in the field of stem cells to Buffalo from around the world, helping us to place UB at the forefront of stem cell research.”
Stelios Andreadis, director of the SCiRM training program and professor and chair
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

The annual symposium emerged as part of the SCiRM training program, which was established this past year. The 5-year training program aims to train graduate students in the areas of stem cell biology and bioengineering with an emphasis on applications of stem cells in regenerative medicine. 

“This program is fostering interactions between faculty and students from diverse backgrounds —biology, medicine, bioengineering —enriching research efforts and leading to promising findings and development of novel technologies enabling the use of stem cells for disease treatment,” said Stelios Andreadis, director of the SCiRM training program and professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

The SCiRM training program also includes a six-day workshop, an introduction to new courses, and participation in an annual stem cell conference organized by NYSTEM, which is designed to enrich the research and learning environment by exposing students to the latest developments in this rapidly developing field. 

The symposium took place on June 8-9, 2017 at UB’s NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences building. The event hosted six distinguished keynote speakers from around the country, six SCiRM faculty who presented their research, as well as poster presentations by graduate students from the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. 

More that 70 faculty, students, post-doctoral fellows and industry representatives (e.g. ThermoFisher, Stem Cultures) participated in the symposium.

“SCiRM fellows and faculty had the opportunity to attend some outstanding research presentations and to engage in stimulating interactions with guests and colleagues from the three UB campuses, generating an atmosphere of enthusiasm and intellectual vigor that we are looking forward to repeat next year,” said Andreadis.

External distinguished speakers included: Robert Sackstein (Harvard University), Sean Palecek (University of Wisconsin), Ali Brivanlou (Rockefeller University), Gordana Novacovik (Columbia University) and David Schaffer (University of California Berkeley). 

SCiRM faculty included: Andreadis (Chemical and Biological Engineering), Richard Gronostajski (Biochemistry), Gen Suzuki (Medicine), Michael Nemeth (Roswell Park Cancer Institute), Fraser Sim (Pharmacology and Toxicology), and Steven Pruitt (Roswell Park Cancer Institute).

Two poster winners were from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and one was from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“The quality of student posters was excellent making it very difficult for our distinguished speakers to select a group of three poster winners,” said Andreadis.

The poster winners were: Aref Shahini (Chemical Engineering) presenting author of “NANOG Restores the Myogenic Differentiation Potential of Senescent Myoblasts,” Arezoo Momeni (Chemical Engineering) presenting author of “Cell Surface Glycoengineering Improves Selectin-Mediated Adhesion of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) and Cardiosphere-Derived Cells (cdcs): Pilot Validation in Porcine Ischemia-Reperfusion Model,” and Christian Gluck (Biochemistry) presenting author of “Molecular Dissection of the Oncogenic Role of ETS1 and its network in head and Neck Squamous Carcinoma.”  

“Events like the annual symposium bring leaders in the field of stem cells to Buffalo from around the world, helping us to place UB at the forefront of stem cell research,” said Andreadis. “We are looking forward to the next four years and beyond as we leverage this New York State funded program to attract excellent graduate students and foster inter-institutional collaborations that may lead to scientific and technological advances and health care deliverables, with potential socioeconomic impact in Western New York.”

Photo Credits: The Onion Studio.

About the Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine Program

The Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine Program (SCiRM) was established in the fall of 2016 with funding from the New York Stem Cells Stem Cell Board. SCiRM brings together 19 faculty from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Roswell Park Cancer Institute to work in various aspects of stem cell biology and bioengineering with an emphasis on applications of stem cells in regenerative medicine. SCiRM is directed by Stelios Andreadis, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and co-directed by Sriram Neelamegham, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Richard Gronostajski, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry.