ISSCR 12th Annual Meeting Recap

June 18-21, 2014

In June 2014, the ISSCR returned to Canada and was joined by more than 3300 attendees for the ISSCR 12th Annual Meeting. While this write-up cannot touch on everything that happened during the meeting, we would like to highlight some of the key events that occurred during our four-plus days in Vancouver.

We thank the 2014 Annual Meeting Program Committee, chaired by Fiona Watt, for their hard work and dedication to developing a far-reaching and diverse scientific program. Significant progress has been made in the translation of stem cell research and its promise towards clinical applications, and this was reflected in dedicated plenary and concurrent sessions that highlighted the successes, challenges and exciting future in this area. In all, a total of seven plenaries, 20 concurrent sessions and three poster receptions provided a robust program encompassing the breadth of the stem cell field. The ISSCR thanks all those who presented their work, and we congratulate the six winners of the Betty Jean Ogawa Memorial Awards  for the top-scoring posters (see below).

We were pleased to co-present with the Stem Cell Network (Canada) and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), “What’s the REAL DEAL with Stem Cell Therapies?”, an event that brought together four panelists for a discussion and debate on the current state of stem cell treatments. Featured were four excellent Stem Cell Shorts videos introducing stem cellsembryonic stem cellsinduced pluripotent stem cells and stem cell tourism. The ISSCR would especially like to thank Lisa Willemse (Stem Cell Network), Stacey Johnson (CCRM) and Ben Paylor (Stem Cell Shorts) for their work in putting together an excellent event.

The following morning, attendees participated in the Industry Wednesday Symposium presented by Thermo Fisher and five Focus Sessions, offering in-depth discussions of multiple topics including Academia-Industry partnerships, Ethics and the Information Age and how to generate public support for stem cell research funding.

The ISSCR 12th Annual Meeting was officially opened by ISSCR President Janet Rossant, whose Presidential Symposium focused on the connections between stem cell research and developmental biology and featured presentations by Olivier Pourquie, Brigid Hogan, Gordon Keller and Lorenz Studer. The day concluded with the Ernest McCulloch Memorial Lecture, fittingly given by Connie Eaves, who had trained previously with Dr. McCulloch.

Three major awards were presented throughout the course of the meeting. The McEwen Award for Innovation was presented to Azim Surani in recognition of his research in germ cell specification. The ISSCR Public Service Award was then presented to Paolo Bianco, Elena Cattaneo and Michele De Luca for their championing of rigorous scientific and medical standards during the debate over the availability of unproven stem cell treatments in Italy. On the final day of the meeting, the ISSCR-BD Biosciences Outstanding Young Investigator Award was presented to Valentina Greco in recognition of her groundbreaking studies on skin stem cells, including the first real-time visualization of stem cell divisions in living animals. After accepting the award, she presented an update of the latest work from her laboratory.  

Presentations covering the current state of treatments for diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, retinal degeneration and spinal cord injury  provided glimpses at some of the most promising clinically driven work being done today. Reminding all of those in attendance why the research being done is so important, patient advocate Jennifer Molson gave a moving account of her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, recruitment into a clinical trial for autologous bone marrow transplantation therapy and subsequent recovery. View her presentation here.

A fantastic annual meeting came to a close on Saturday, June 21. The final plenary session featured an address from ISSCR President-Elect Rudolf Jaenisch who touched on his vision for the mission of the ISSCR and the path towards clinical applications of stem cells, including the need to continue to emphasize basic research, iPSC-based disease modeling, in vitro bioengineered tissues and cell-based therapies. Continuing this theme, the Closing Keynote by Susan Lindquist, whose work expertly moved from basic research in yeast to translational research involving stem cells. 

We congratulate again the winners of the Betty Jean Ogawa Memorial Awards for the top-scoring poster presentations, who were selected from 703 eligible poster abstracts. These six individuals will receive complementary registration to the ISSCR 13th Annual Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, a stipend to help defray the costs of traveling to Sweden, complimentary one-year subscriptions to Cell Stem Cell and Current Protocols in Stem Cell Biology, a Stem Cell Reports t-shirt and a $250 cash prize:

  • Joel BlanchardThe Scripps Research Institute, USA
  • Maria Carolina FlorianUniversity of Ulm, Germany
  • Courteney K. LaiTerry Fox Laboratory, Canada
  • Chih-Jen LinUniversity of California, San Francisco, USA
  • Minoru TakasatoUniversity of Queensland, Australia
  • Vionnie YuMassachusetts General Hospital, USA

2014 Travel Award Winners

The ISSCR congratulates the recipients of the 2014 Travel Awards, which help defray the cost of traveling to Vancouver.

Helen Abud  Junghyun Jo  Peter Rugg-Gunn 
Avodele Alaiva  Pritinder Kaur  Nadia Sachewsky 
Lay Teng Ang  David Kent  Ido Sagi 
Arianna Baggiolini  Enis Kostallari  Norikazu Saiki 
Tomas Barta  Georgia Kouroupi  Abby Sarkar 
Juan Miguel Bavo Fina  Michaela Kunova  Leila Satarian 
Phillip Beer  Dongmei Lai  Hayden Selvadurai 
Sarah Best  Maria Leal  Elena Sarena 
Luca Biasco  Joo-Hyeon Lee  Hongyung Sha 
Joel Blanchard  Yichen Li  Filipa Soares 
Thorsten Boroviak  Shau-Ping Lin  Hayami Sugiyama 
Lorena Braid  Chih-Jen Lin  Leila Taghivar Renani 
Justin Brumbaugh  Hongjun Liu  Atsuhiro Taguchi 
Christa Buecker  Selina Möbus  Minoru Takasato 
Wen-Hsuan Chang  Fukuda Masayoshi  Koji Tanabe 
Kathryn Cheah  Victoria Mascetti  Abinaya Sundari Thooyamani 
Raedun Clarke  Yasumasa Mashimo  Peter Tonge 
Aaron DeWard  Rebecca Mason  Gene Uenishi 
Andrea Ditadi  Luke Mortensen  Nicola Vannini 
Rodrigo dos Santos  Rohan Nadkarni  Balazs Varga 
Devaniali Dutta  Phong Nguyen  Xiaoqun Wang 
Yechiel Elkabetz  Jovica Ninkovic  Scott Williams 
Maria Carolina Florian  Shinichiro Ogawa  Filip Wymeersch 
Maria Fernanda Forni  Matthew Pech  Zhiheng Xu 
Vincenzo Giambra  Francesca Pellicano  Jiao Yang 
Shimpei Gotoh  John Perry  Dapeng Yang 
Lamis Hammoud  Sandra Pinho  Vionnie Yu 
Jinah Han  Sacha Prashad  Meng Zhao 
Natsuko Hemmi  Daniel Prieto  Jie Zheng 
Ping Hu  Yuchen Qi  Jianhong Zhu 
Junjiu Huang  Waleed Rahmani  Saiyong Zhu 
Samer Hussein  Viviana Marcela Rodriguez-Pardo  Ludovic Zimmerlin 
Kim Jensen Chiara Rolando  Ewa Zuba-Surma 

BD Biosciences is a proud supporter of the 2014 Travel Awards. Congratulations to the following award recipients:

Alva Biran 
Elia Piccinini 
Sandra Pinho 
Tian Wang 
Jan Zylicz