Where: Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin When: December 12th 2012, 6pm
The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine was awarded jointly to Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent". Pluripotency is an ability of certain cells to specialize into all of the cell types that make up the body, for example muscle, skin and nerve cells. Yamanaka’s work made it possible to convert skin cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. These iPS cells can specialize into different cell types raising the possibility to treat patients with their own somatic cell-derived stem cells. This is exciting news for people who are affected by conditions that have no treatment.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects almost 1% of people. There is significant morbidity associated with autism and there is no known cure. In this public forum, Professor Louise Gallagher at TCD will describe a new collaboration with the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway to advance stem cell research on autism. Stem cell research may provide a way to study neuronal cells in autism and to test new therapies. REMEDI’s Danielle Nicholson will give an overview of stem cell research. Then, Professor Sanbing Shen who leads an iPS cell research group at REMEDI and made the first Irish iPS cell lines from human skin biopsies using Yamanaka’s technology will outline the research project that aims to find out what goes wrong when autistic iPS cells become neurons, and if there are drugs that may help to reverse the disease pathology. Shen and Gallagher are recruiting autism patients and healthy children to participate this study which will be very much appreciated.