Stem Cells: From Bench to Bedside

stem cells

One of the body’s basic building blocks—the versatile stem cell—has, in recent years come to the attention of medical researchers and physicians, alike. Delve into the science of stem cells to learn more about their composition, and often complex and controversial application in medical care.

This course on stem cells, offered by a Wesleyan faculty biologist, with expertise in gender and environmental studies, will explore stem cell’s basic biology, their clinical applications, both current and pending, and political and ethical issues surrounding their use in various clinical settings.

Instructor: Laura Grabel

Four Thursdays
March 7, 14, 21, 28
5-6:30PM, Wasch Center Butterfield Room
Laura Grabel
Laura Grabel’s work examines many aspects of embryonic stem cell differentiation, most recently the production of neural stem cells and neurons from mouse and human embryonic stem cells. In culture, differentiating embryonic stem cells form neural rosettes that mimic the embryonic neural tube. In collaboration with Jan Naegele and Gloster Aaron, also at Wesleyan, efforts have focused on characterizing the fate of embryonic stem cell-derived neural progenitors transplanted into mouse models of temporal lobe epilepsy. These experiments have shown that embryonic stem cell-derived neural progenitors can differentiate into functional neurons within the hippocampus. She has also collaborated with Lori Gruen at Wesleyan examining various aspects of stem cell ethics and current efforts in this area focus on chimeras generated by combining human pluripotent stem cells with embryos or adults of other species.
Dr. Grabel received her PhD at the University of California, San Diego and was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Gail Martin at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the Lauren B. Dachs Chair of Science and Society at Wesleyan, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Past President of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering. For the past several years she has collaborated with Liz Lerman, Elizabeth Johnson, and faculty at Wesleyan on the “Science Choreography” project, examining ways to use movement to enrich science instruction. As Co-PI of the Stem Cell Core grant to the University of Connecticut Health Center, Dr. Grabel runs the outreach component of the program.