Nav: Home

Tulane professor receives grant to improve stem cell survival

August 17, 2016

Kim O'Connor, a professor in Tulane University's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, received a three-year $599,638 grant from the National Science Foundation to study ways to improve the survival of mesenchymal stem cells once they are implanted in patients.

Mesenchymal stem cells can change into different types of cells including bone, cartilage or muscle. Harnessing the regenerative capacity of mesenchymal stem cells has the potential to improve the quality of human life by repairing tissue damaged by disease, trauma and aging.

"We are delighted to receive the funding for this project," O'Connor said. "The grant will allow us to look at the survival of stem cells. Seventy-five percent of these cells are lost when implanted. We are using cell culture and a mouse model to mimic stem cell survival in patients. Our goal is to improve the survival rate, and we are very excited about this opportunity."

O'Connor is the principal investigator while the co-principal investigators are Professor Bruce Bunnell, director of the Tulane Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine, and Professor Yao-Zhong Liu in the Tulane Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. O'Connor and Bunnell have an ongoing collaboration on this project, while Liu recently joined the effort.

Mesenchymal stem cells exhibit significant cell-to-cell variation in their capacity to survive upon implantation, but the molecular basis of why some of these stem cells survive and others don't is poorly understood. The goal of the project is to improve the survival of these stem cells by gaining insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying their different survival outcome. This knowledge has the potential to advance the stem cell field by overcoming a critical barrier to achieve more effective stem cell therapies.

O'Connor will direct the study, Bunnell will advise on the animal research aspect of this study and Liu will advise on the bioinformatics piece. Their students will gain first-hand experience through laboratory research funded by this grant.

Tulane University

Related Stem Cells Articles:

A protein that stem cells require could be a target in killing breast cancer cells
Researchers have identified a protein that must be present in order for mammary stem cells to perform their normal functions.
Approaching a decades-old goal: Making blood stem cells from patients' own cells
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have, for the first time, generated blood-forming stem cells in the lab using pluripotent stem cells, which can make virtually every cell type in the body.
New research finds novel method for generating airway cells from stem cells
Researchers have developed a new approach for growing and studying cells they hope one day will lead to curing lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis through 'personalized medicine.'
Mature heart muscle cells created in the laboratory from stem cells
Generating mature and viable heart muscle cells from human or other animal stem cells has proven difficult for biologists.
Mutations in bone cells can drive leukemia in neighboring stem cells
DNA mutations in bone cells that support blood development can drive leukemia formation in nearby blood stem cells.
More Stem Cells News and Stem Cells Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...