In a seminar on "Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine," Polak will discuss the promise this type of research holds to treat diseases that include diabetes, arthritis, coronary artery disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. In addition to providing hope for those afflicted with these types of ailments, tissue engineering is already helping athletes who suffer from various sports injuries.
Polak's visit is sponsored by the Texas/United Kingdom Collaborative Research Initiative, a program supported by the British government with the aim of stimulating interactions between researchers from participating Texas institutions and universities in the UK.
"The discovery that stem cells can be manipulated to form virtually any cell type or tissue is providing the basis for cell replacement and engineered tissues," Polak said. "These may ultimately play a large role in treating widespread and devastating diseases. Various types of stem cells are being investigated for their potential....to help the body heal itself."
Herself a recipient of a heart and lung transplant a decade ago, Polak will discuss how biology, materials science and biomedical engineering have come together in this new field directed toward long-term repair and replacement of failing human tissues and organs. One of the most highly cited researchers in the world, she is ranked in the top 10 of the World's Most Prolific Scientists. Joining Imperial College London in 1992, Polak is the director of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Centre based in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
Polak's visit is co-hosted by the Houston chapter of Sigma Xi, the UH College of Pharmacy and the Department of Pharmacological & Pharmaceutical Sciences. Sigma Xi is the national research honor society of scientists and engineers that recognizes scientific achievement and is dedicated to advancing these fields with its mission to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and promote the public's understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. The College of Pharmacy offers a Pharm. D. degree, a master's in pharmacy administration, a Ph.D. in pharmaceutics or pharmacology and combined Pharm.D./Ph.D. degrees, with facilities both on the UH campus and in the Texas Medical Center.
Dame Julia Polak
Director, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Centre
Imperial College London / Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
"Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine" Seminar
4:15 to 5:15 p.m. (reception to follow)
Tuesday, March 8
University of Houston
Science & Research 2 Building, Room 130
Entrance 14 off Cullen Boulevard
For more information about UH, visit the university's Newsroom at www.uh.edu/newsroom.
To receive UH science news via e-mail, visit www.uh.edu/admin/media/sciencelist.html.