From: Wednesday June 2, 2021, 12:30 pm
To: Wednesday June 2, 2021, 2:00 pm
Stem cells are set to revolutionise the way we think about medical therapies. These are cells that can be grown in the laboratory in large numbers and have the potential to generate any cell type in the body. This has led to high expectation in this research field that these cells can be used to ‘repair’ a range of human medical conditions. Clare Parish and Lachlan Thompson from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health will highlight how this research has recently progressed from expectation to reality, with a special emphasis on the development of new stem cell therapies for neurological conditions including Parkinson’s disease.
Clare Parish, PhD
Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health, The University of Melbourne
Clare Parish, PhD, is a developmental neuroscientist with 20 years of experience in Parkinson’s disease research. She has specialized expertise in the directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into various neural and neuronal lineages—work that has contributed to the development of highly standardized protocols and the implementation of strategies to facilitate cross-continental research. She has utilized these cells and protocols to model neural development and disease, and advance cell-based therapies for neural repair, predominantly around the central theme of dopamine biology and Parkinson’s disease. She has an international reputation in improving the safety and functional integration of stem cell-derived neural transplants for Parkinson’s disease. Most recently this has included successful efforts to combine both cell and gene therapy.
Lachlan Thompson, PhD, is a neurobiologist specializing in neural transplantation. He undertook his training in this area at Lund University, Sweden, where he specialized in transplantation of dopamine neurons in animal models of Parkinson’s disease, including some of the first studies to utilize transgenic cell lines expressing fluorescent proteins in order to study the integration of implanted cells. Now based at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, his group continues to work in the area of neural transplantation, both as a therapeutic approach for brain and spinal cord repair, but also as a way to understand the properties of neurons generated from human stem cells. Dr. Thompson is a board member of the Network of European CNS Transplantation and Repair and the inaugural co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Association for Neural Transplantation and Repair.
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