Scientists and intellectuals across the country will meet at Oakland University this October to share stem cell research information at the second Midwest Conference on Stem Cell Biology and Therapy.
The conference will take place Oct. 5-7 at Meadow Brook Hall. Workshops, lectures and poster presentations will be held to explore the most recent developments in the field.
Rasul Chaudhry, a biology professor at OU, has organized the event.
“This gives our students, our faculty exposure to new knowledge,” he said.
Dr. Erik Forsberg is the executive director of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He studies specifically induced pluripotent stem cells which are adult stem cells that have been altered to act like embryonic stem cells.
“What we learn with embryonic and iPS cells can most likely be applied to adult stem cell research,” he said.
Forsberg was invited to the first Midwest conference, but he did not attend. He is looking forward to visiting OU for the first time.
“They’ve invited a lot of great scientists and I think that it will be very much fun and intellectually stimulating to be meeting with these scientists,” he said.
Chaudhry said much stem cell research is being conducted at OU. Students, faculty members and Beaumont partners are all involved. Those from biology, chemistry, the health sciences and nursing are involved in this research as well.
“Oakland is considered to be a leader now in this area, at least in Michigan,” he said.
At the university, researchers are working with Beaumont to see what can be done to regenerate tissue that may be lost in the retina due to old age or disease, and tissue that is lost between the vertebrae.
Chaudhry said as we grow older, our bodies become less determined to fix problems, such as plaque build up in the arteries.
“(In old age) People have problems in blood circulation between arteries,” Chaudhry said. “We’re looking at what the cause of that and are there any ways we can alleviate that problem.”
Although stem cell research is not directly linked to business, Mohan Tanniru, dean of the School of Business Administration, believes that supporting one area of OU will strengthen the whole university. The School of Business Administration is sponsoring the conference.
“I don’t see a direct benefit to the School of Business, but I see a benefit in promoting the university,” Tanniru said. “I sponsored because I feel that as one of the units on campus, if there is research going on (in a different unit) all of the school should play a role in supporting it.”
In addition, the SBA’s affiliates will participate in a panel discussion. They will explore the business implications of new stem cell research technologies that are being developed.