Stem Cells and Global Sustainability

This ISSCR Digital series explores the intersection of stem cell science and global sustainability issues. Animal agriculture, a main contributor to global deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, is estimated to be the second largest cause of human-made global warming. Global warming is one of the most significant threats to biodiversity on the planet. Stem cell research and its application has the potential to remediate these problems.

An unanticipated application of new discoveries in stem cell biology and in vitro tissue culture technologies is the development of animal meat products made in a laboratory incubator. Using either pluripotent (embryonic or induced pluripotent) or muscle stem cells, scientists are learning how to generate meat in a petri dish rather than extensive animal farming. While still in its nascency, the manufacturing of animal meat products in the lab may hold significant potential to reduce humanity’s reliance on climate-altering animal farming, enable cheaper access to protein sources, and curtail climate change fallout and climate change itself. 

Yet another unforeseen application of stem cells is their potential use in the conservation of endangered species. From frozen zoos of endangered species (banks of frozen stem cells from multiple species) to reproduction-related technological advances, stem cell-related applications can be harnessed to help conserve biodiversity on Earth.

Stem Cells and Global Sustainability brings together stem cell researchers with conservation biologists, global ecologists, and food industry innovators in an unforeseen meeting of fields that could have a significant impact on climate change and human health.


Takanori Takebe, MD, PhD
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, USA and Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Yokohama City University, Japan 
Steve Kattman, PhD
Sana Biotechnology, USA


Environmental Sustainability and Stem Cells: Why Stem Cells?
3 February, 2021
11:00 - 12:30 EST (view your time zone)

The first program of the series will highlight the intersection between stem cell science and the global sustainability issues of species conservation and cell-based approaches to developing meat and fish products. What are some of the big issues that are driving the need for this approach and how can stem cells help?

Gerardo Ceballos Gonzalez Square
Gerardo Ceballos Gonzalez, PhD
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico
David Welch Square
David Welch, PhD
Synthesis Capital, USA
Steve Kattman, PhD
Sana Biotechnology, USA

Innovation Showcase (5-minutes) brought to you by Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Emerging Applications of Stem Cell Technology: Species Conservation
10 February, 2021
20:00 - 21:30 EST (view your time zone)

The number of endangered or extinct species is growing rapidly. What does it take to restore or sustain a population on the brink of extinction and can stem cell-based approaches play a role? If so, how? During the second program of the series, hear from conservation and stem cell experts as they discuss the latest species conservation efforts.

William Burnside Square
William Burnside, PhD
Nature Sustainability, USA
Takanori Takebe, MD, PhD
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, USA and Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Yokohama City University, Japan 
Katsuhiko Hayashi Square
Katsuhiko Hayashi, PhD
Kyushu University, Japan
Jeanne Loring Square
Jeanne Loring, PhD
Scripps Research, USA
Oliver Ryder Square
Oliver Ryder, PhD
San Diego Zoo Global, Beckman Center for Conservation Research, USA

Emerging Applications of Stem Cell Technology: Commercial Agriculture
17 February, 2021
11:00 - 12:30 EST (view your time zone)

The use and application of cell-based approaches for commercial agriculture requires expertise in cell culture, bioengineering, manufacturing and food sciences. The third program of the series will bring together experts in these fields to share insights in these processes and stimulate discussion.

David Mack Square
David Mack, PhD
Institute for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington, USA
Shingo Kajimura Square
Shingo Kajimura, PhD
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, USA
Shulamit Levenberg Square
Shulamit Levenberg, PhD
Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Technion, Israel
Lauran Madden Square
Lauran Madden, PhD
BlueNalu, USA

Promise and Challenges of Stem Cells in Global Sustainability
23 February, 2021
06:00 - 07:30 EST (view your time zone)
Registration for each digital meeting will close 30-minutes prior to the start of the meeting. For questions about registration, please email

The fourth and final program of the series will highlight the potential and the challenges of cell-based approaches to meat and fish alternatives from experts in the field and industry. 

Mark Post Square
Mark Post, MD, PhD
Maastricht University and Mosa Meat, Netherlands
Shoji Takeuchi Square
Shoji Takeuchi, PhD
Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, University of Tokyo and Institute of Industrial Science, Japan
Anne Mullen Square
Anne Mullen, PhD
Nature Food, United Kingdom


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