Method pioneered by OHSU researcher could become gold standard for creating embryonic stem cells

Stem cell colony developed through SCNT

Stem cell therapies hold great promise for replacing cells that have been damaged by injury or illness. Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University recently compared two methods to create human pluripotent stem cells—those which can be transformed into any other cell type in the body—and have found a clear winner. Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) appears to be more accurate at reprogramming human skin cells to become embryonic stem cells and produces fewer epigenetic abnormalities than inducing pluripotent stem cells (iPS). The findings were published online on July 2 in Nature by OHSU’s Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Ph.D., and colleagues. Dr. Mitalipov, director of the OHSU Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy, was the first to successfully use SCNT to create human embryonic stem cells in May 2013.

“We think the difference is remarkable,” Dr. Mitalipov said. “The SCNT method faithfully erases the memory of the skin cell and converts it into an embryonic stem cell. The iPS method produces a cell with significant differences and abnormalities.”

This study is the first of its kind to systematically compare SCNT and iPS using the same set of skin cells. Its findings could greatly influence the field of regenerative medicine and the future development of stem cell therapies.

Read more.

The research was funded by OHSU, the Leducq Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Salk International Council Chair endowment fund and the Mary K. Chapman Foundation.

Cardiovascular researcher wins prestigious young investigator’s award

Chi Young Shim, M.D., Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at the Knight Cardiovascular Institute, was awarded the prestigious 2014 Arthur E. Weyman Young Investigator’s Award at last week’s American Society of Echocardiography 25th Annual Scientific Sessions.

Dr. Shim in the lab

Dr. Shim presented the results of a study which used molecular imaging with “smart” targeted microbubbles to detect the sticking of platelets to the vessel wall at various stages of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries due to plaque build-up, can lead to many serious health problems, including stroke and coronary heart disease, which is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States.

“It is well known that platelets play a role in forming large clots that block arteries in stroke and heart attack. Our study opens up a whole new perspective on how platelets play a role in provoking the earlier initiation and growth of atherosclerotic plaques,” said Dr. Shim.

Jonathan Lindner, M.D., the senior investigator of the study adds, “It has been suspected that platelet adhesion to the inner lining of blood vessels, even temporarily, can result in the deposition of harmful chemicals that can promote plaque growth and instability. This study is the first to definitively show that this process happens in the early stages of the disease. We also used smart microbubbles to evaluate the mechanism that causes them to stick, which involves oxidative stress and the abnormal production of molecules on the plaque surface that snag platelets from the circulating blood. These results are important because they now give us a possible therapeutic target for new therapies.”

Researchers on the study, “Platelet Attachment to Vascular Endothelium Occurs in Both Early and Late-Stage Atherosclerosis Secondary to Dysregulation of Von Willebrand Factor: Evaluation by Contrast Ultrasound Molecular Imaging, included Chi Young Shim, Ya Ni Liu, Tami Atkinson, Mackenzie Treible, Aris Xie, Yue Qi, Ted Foster, Todd Belcik and Jonathan Lindner from the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute.

Medical Research Foundation of Oregon award nominations due Aug. 22

2013 MRF Awardees from left: Discovery Award winners P. Andrew Karplus, Ph.D. (Oregon State) and Eric Orwoll, M.D., F.A.C.P. (OHSU); Mentor Award winner Saturday Academy; Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award winner Jennifer DeVoe, M.D., M.Phil. (OHSU)

The Medical Research Foundation of Oregon seeks nominations for its annual Discovery, Mentor and Richard T. Jones New Investigator Awards. The purpose of these awards is to recognize Oregonians who are performing cutting edge research and demonstrating outstanding leadership. Awards are available in the following categories:

  • The Discovery Award acknowledges an Oregon investigator who has made significant, original contributions to health‐related research while working in Oregon. This research can be in the basic, clinical or behavioral sciences, or can be research in health care delivery, health informatics or health outcomes. The Discovery Award recipient will receive a cash award of $6,000 and a commemorative award.
  • The Mentor Award is presented to an Oregonian who has provided outstanding leadership in support or development of health research, education or the advancement of health care. The Mentor Award recipient will receive a cash award of $6,000 and a commemorative award.
  • The Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award recognizes a new investigator who shows exceptional promise early in a career in biomedical research. This individual must be within seven years or less of completing clinical and/or post‐doctoral training and will be judged on the basis of independence, quality of science, national funding and first or senior authored publications in peer‐reviewed biomedical research journals. The culmination of the research must have been performed in Oregon. The Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award recipient will receive a cash award of $3,000 and a commemorative award.

Nominations are due August 22, 2014 by 5 p.m. For information on how to nominate your colleagues, visit the MRF website or download the request for nominations.

Jeffrey Kaye, M.D., to lead Alzheimer’s Association professional society

Jeffrey Kaye, M.D.

Jeffrey Kaye, M.D.

Jeffrey Kaye, M.D., professor and director of OHSU’s Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, will lead the Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART) this year, following his service as vice chair of the society for the past two years.

“I am honored to be leading this international professional society of Alzheimer’s researchers, and I look forward to continuing to work to find treatment and ultimately a cure for this devastating disease,” Dr. Kaye said.

ISTAART is a professional society for individuals interested in Alzheimer’s and dementia science, including scientists, physicians and other professionals involved in the causes and treatments of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

“We are delighted Dr. Kaye will be leading ISTAART,” said Tracy Morgan, interim executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Oregon Chapter. “His knowledge and expertise have benefited Alzheimer’s research in Oregon — and around the world.”

Dr. Kaye is the Layton Endowed Professor of neurology and biomedical engineering at OHSU’s Layton Aging & Alzheimer’s Disease Center. He is director of the center as well as the director of the Oregon Center for Aging and Technology. His research focuses on understanding healthy aging using a variety of approaches ranging across the fields of genetics, neuroimaging, physiology and continuous activity monitoring. He leads several longitudinal studies of aging, including the ongoing Oregon Brain Aging Study and the Intelligent Systems for Detection of Aging Changes (ISAAC) study using pervasive computing technologies for continuous assessment of health and function among the aging in their homes.

Dr. Kaye has received the Charles Dolan Hatfield Research Award for his work. He is listed in Best Doctors in America and serves on many national and international panels and review boards in the fields of geriatrics, neurology and technology. Dr. Kaye is an author of more than 300 scientific publications and holds several major grant awards from federal agencies, national foundations and industrial sponsors.

Center for Health Systems Effectiveness announces fall conference

Want to find out how coordinated care organizations are reshaping service delivery in Oregon? Who’s experimenting with new forms of health care payment? How attempts at payment reforms are playing out in other states? Then the Center for Health Systems Effectiveness fall payment-innovation conference is the place for you!

This September, CHSE will convene a statewide conference for health-services researchers, the policy community, reform-minded providers, purchasers, and others with a stake in Oregon’s health care systems future. Click here for the agenda to date.

Registration is open now. OHSU faculty, staff, and students are eligible for a discounted registration fee.

Date: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Time: 8:00 am- 5:00 pm
Location: The Sentinel (614 SW 11th Ave. Portland, OR 97205)

Core U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program applications due Aug. 1

Interested in conducting research or teaching abroad? Applications for the Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program are due August 1, 2014.

The Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program provides teaching and/or research grants to U.S. faculty and experienced professionals in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. Grants are available in over 125 countries worldwide. To find a grant that best fits your interests, search the Catalog of Award 2015-2016.

Upcoming webinars for interested applicants include:

  • Fulbright Opportunities in Europe: A Second Look at Central and Eastern Europe – July 8
  • Fulbright Distinguished Awards – July 9
  • All Discipline Awards – What Are They? – July 11
  • Have You Thought About? – Some Hidden Gems – July 14
  • Fulbright Flex Awards – July 17
  • How to Craft a Successful  Project Statement – July 18
  • Reviewing Your Fulbright Application Package – July 23
  • Reviewing Your Fulbright Application Package 2 – July 30

Brown bag: IRB Policies and Forms Makeover, July 22

IRB Brown Bag

Join us Tuesday, July 22, 2014
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
UHS 8B60

The OHSU Institutional Review Board policies and forms web pages are getting a makeover in early July! The updated website will feature new and improved investigator resources as well as the new policies and procedures the IRB has adopted as part of its process improvement project. Attend this session to learn about:

  • The new policies and procedures the IRB is following in reviewing your research;
  • The new tools and resources available to investigators; and
  • Where to find the information you need on the new web page

If you have questions, call our help desk at 503-494-7887, option 1.

Postdoctoral fellowships from the Human Frontier Science Program

The Human Frontier Science Program encourages postdoctoral scientists to broaden their research skills by moving into new areas of study while working in a new country. The program provides awardees with approximately $50,000 per year for three years, and invites applications for two international mechanisms that offer postdoctoral fellowships for basic research training:

Long-Term Fellowships – For applicants with a Ph.D. in a biological discipline to embark on a new project in a different field of the life sciences. Preference is given to applicants who propose an original study in biology that marks a departure from their previous Ph.D. or postdoctoral work so as to learn new methods or change study system.

Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships – For applicants with a Ph.D. from outside the life sciences e.g. in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering or computer sciences who have had limited exposure to biology during their previous training. Applicants should propose a significant departure from their past research by changing e.g. from material science or physics to cell biology, from chemistry to molecular biology, or from computer science to neuroscience.

Registration deadline: August 13, 2014
Application deadline: August 28, 2014

To be eligible, the applicant must hold a research doctorate or a doctoral-level degree comparable to a Ph.D. with equivalent experience in basic research and must be conferred by the start of the fellowship (December 31, 2015). The degree must have been conferred in the three years prior to the submission deadline. Applicants must have at least one lead author paper either accepted for publication, in press or published, in an English peer-reviewed international journal. Applicants who have spent 12 or more months in their proposed host country or with their proposed supervisor are ineligible.

Funding Focus: Transparency in peer review, July 17

Eva Amsen, Ph.D., outreach director, F1000Research

Funding Focus: Transparency in Peer Review
Thursday, July 17, 2014 from 12 to 1 p.m.
Mackenzie Hall 2201

July’s Funding Focus seminar will feature a special guest from F1000Research, an open access journal in the life sciences. Eva Amsen, Ph.D., outreach director for F1000Research, will give a presentation on transparency in peer review. All OHSU students, postdocs, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend.

About the seminar

Peer review has remained largely unchanged for the last few decades: papers are sent to anonymous reviewers and are not published until they pass peer review. In recent years, several scientific publishers have started to open up the peer review process by naming reviewers or publishing referee reports online. Researchers are also starting to share preprints or data sets online, before they’re peer reviewed, to speed up dissemination of research.

F1000Research publishes papers online as soon as they are accepted for peer review, and invited reviewers’ reports appear with the article – and with reviewer name! This speeds up publication and makes the review process much more transparent.  This talk will discuss changes in peer review over the past years, in particular within the life sciences, and using examples from F1000Research. There will be time afterwards for general discussion about transparency in peer review.

Researchers create 3-D model of elusive brain receptor

The NMDA receptor with receptor subunits in different colors.

Exciting news from the Gouaux Lab this week: researchers have discovered new information about the structure of an important brain receptor that is crucial for learning and memory. Malfunction of the receptor, N-methyl-D-asparate (NMDA), is known to cause a variety of neurological disorders and diseases, but until now, researchers had limited information about how its subunits operate in the brain.

Using X-ray crystallography, Dr. Gouaux and his team at the OHSU Vollum Institute created a 3-D model of the NMDA receptor. The model allows them to gain new insight into how the receptor subunits are structured and how they interact to carry out specific functions. Using this more detailed view of the receptor as a map, researchers may be able to develop new drugs that treat neurological disorders.

The research was published online in Nature on June 22. View the OHSU news release to learn more.

This research was funded by a gift from Bernard and Jennifer Lacroute, along with a grant from the National Institutes of Health (#R37NS038631) and support from the Vollum Institute. Chia-Hsueh Lee, the paper’s first author, is supported by an OHSU Brain Institute Fellowship, funded by Ronni Lacroute.

Welcome to the Research News Blog

Welcome to the Research News Blog

OHSU Research News is your portal to information about all things research at Oregon Health & Science University. Visit often for updates on events, discoveries, and important funding information.

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