What do more than 3,500 of the top stem cell researchers in the world have in common with someone who used to write about cricket and rugby for a living? I don’t know either but I’m going to find out this week when I go to the annual conference of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) in Boston.
The conference is the largest and probably the most important gathering of stem cell scientists in the world every year. It’s a chance to hear about the latest research and to get a glimpse of where the science is heading in the next year or so. It’s also a chance to talk and listen and learn about some of the hottest topics in stem cell research right now such as creating stem cells from cloned embryos, or the possible discovery of a new kind of pluripotent stem cell – the kind that can turn into any other cell in the body.
Because of the importance of the ISSCR conference it’s no surprise that the stem cell agency is sending several members of its science team – and me, the former sports journalist – to the event to help them stay up to date on the latest research and to meet with their peers from around the globe.
My colleague Don Gibbons and I will be blogging from the conference all week so stay tuned for the latest updates. Among the topics and speakers we are going to be following are Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka giving the President’s address, as well as presentations by CIRM grantees such as Larry Goldstein from UC San Diego and Joseph Wu from Stanford. We’ll also be reporting on the latest use of stem cells in tissue engineering and organ development.
It promises to be a fascinating week.