UTSA, UT Health Science Center host San Antonio Stem Cell Conference Oct. 18-20

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(Oct. 19, 2010)--Stem cell researchers from across Texas as well as world leaders in this field from across the country are gathering in San Antonio at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center Oct. 18-20 for a conference with the theme, "Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine: New Solutions to Old Problems."

The San Antonio Stem Cell Conference is a collaborative effort of researchers at UTSA and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Health Science Center) through the San Antonio Life Sciences Institute (SALSI).

"Stem cell research offers a tremendous opportunity to advance treatments for a variety of diseases, including cancer; diseases that affect the brain, heart and blood systems; and debilitating conditions including battlefield trauma," said John McCarrey, professor in the UTSA Department of Biology and director of UTSA's San Antonio Institute for Cellular and Molecular Primatology. "This conference seeks to bring together experts in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine from across the city as well as other parts of Texas and other parts of the U.S. to discuss current stem cell research and the implications of that new knowledge."

"This conference is important for two reasons: it gives scientists a chance to learn about the most recent developments in stem cell biology," said Vivienne Rebel, one of the organizers and an assistant professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology at the Health Science Center's Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute. "Also, this puts the latest information out to the public. We hope the media will come and report back to the community -- and get the conversation going."

The conference will include a panel discussion on stem cell research in Texas from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 19. Before the panel discussion, conference organizers will invite researchers and the media to submit questions. The discussion will be led by John Gearhart, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Panelists will include Peggy Goodell (Baylor College of Medicine), Col. Robert Hale (Brooke Army Medical Center), and Steven Wolf and Bettie Sue Masters (Health Science Center). Masters is a member of the National Academies' Institute of Medicine.

Keynote speakers and their respective topics will include:

  • Alan Trounson, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, "A Model for Translation of Stem Cell Discoveries"
  • Rudolf Jaenisch, MIT/Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, "Stem Cells, Pluripotency and Nuclear Reprogramming"
  • Elaine Fuchs, Rockefeller University, "Skin Stem Cells in Morphogenesis, Homeostasis and Wound Repair"
  • Hans Keirstead, University of California, Irvine, "Human Embryonic Stem Cell Derivates for Clinical Application"

The conference agenda also includes presentations by San Antonio stem cell experts from UTSA, the UT Health Science Center, the Southwest Research Institute and the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research, along with presentations by experts from the Baylor College of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh and University of Minnesota.

The San Antonio Stem Cell Conference is one of 48 projects funded by SALSI, an institute authorized by the Texas 77th Legislature to strengthen the biomedical and biotechnology industries in South Texas by developing a framework for research collaboration. SALSI's focus includes regenerative medicine and prosthetics, medicinal chemistry, neuroscience, health disparities, biomedical engineering, research education and mentoring.

The conference sponsors are the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, Kinetic Concepts Inc., STEMCELL Technologies, Miltenyi Biotec Inc., Baker BioScience Solutions, GlobalStem, Southwest Research Institute, Eppendorf, New Brunswick Scientific, Trevigen Inc., Fluidigm Corp. (Lower Midwest), Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute and San Antonio Institute for Cellular and Molecular Primatology.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country's leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled a record $259 million in fiscal year 2009. The university's schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $739 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg.

The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the fastest growing higher education institutions in Texas and one of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System. As a multicultural institution, UTSA aims to be a national research university providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment. UTSA serves more than 30,300 students in 65 bachelor's, 49 master's and 21 doctoral degree programs in the colleges of Architecture, Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Honors, Liberal and Fine Arts, Public Policy, Sciences and Graduate School. Founded in 1969, UTSA is an intellectual and creative resource center and a socioeconomic development catalyst for Texas and beyond.