CHICAGO -- The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has announced the following 2014 award recipients, who will be formally recognized at its 12th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, taking place June 18-21, 2014:
- Azim Surani, Ph.D., Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, for the McEwen Award for Innovation
- Valentina Greco, Ph.D., Yale University, Department of Genetics, Yale Stem Cell Center, for the ISSCR-BD Biosciences Outstanding Young Investigator Award
- Paolo Bianco, M.D., Sapienza University of Rome, Elena Cattaneo, Ph.D., University of Milan and Michele De Luca, M.D., University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, for the ISSCR Public Service Award
The McEwen Award for Innovation, supported by the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, recognizes original thinking and groundbreaking research pertaining to stem cells or regenerative medicine that opens new avenues of exploration toward the understanding or treatment of human disease or affliction. The winner receives $100,000 USD. Past winners include James Thomson, Rudolf Jaenisch, Kazutoshi Takahashi and Shinya Yamanaka.
Award recipient Surani is a world leader in the field of epigenetics and the development of the mammalian germ line. His work on early mammalian development led to his involvement in the discovery of genomic imprinting and ongoing contributions to understanding the mechanistic basis of imprinting. Most relevant to stem cell biology, is his work on the cellular and molecular specification of the mammalian germ cell lineage, which impacted the field's understanding of how the germ line is established and the molecular mechanisms responsible for reprogramming the epigenome in order to generate the totipotent state.
"The ISSCR is thrilled to announce the McEwen Award for Innovation, our most prestigious award, will be presented to Azim Surani," Janet Rossant, ISSCR president, said. "His pioneering research, which has changed the face of epigenetics and advanced the field of stem cell biology, is a rare and significant contribution from a single individual."
The ISSCR-BD Biosciences Outstanding Young Investigator Award recognizes exceptional achievements by an ISSCR member and investigator in the early part of their independent career in stem cell research. The winner receives a $7,500 USD personal award and an opportunity to present at the ISSCR Annual Meeting. Past winners include Marius Wernig, Cédric Blanpain, Robert Blelloch, Joanna Wysocka and Konrad Hochedlinger.
Award recipient Greco established a noninvasive method to directly visualize skin stem cell division in real time in living animals - the first of its kind for imaging any stem cell. By combining this method with laser ablation and transgenic lineage tracing, she captured previously inaccessible key information on stem cell behavior during tissue maintenance and regeneration. She demonstrated that the niche location of stem cells dictates their fates, the niche is required for tissue maintenance, and that a β-catenin-mediated extrinsic mechanism regulates stem cell activation.
"The ISSCR is looking forward to presenting our Outstanding Young Investigator Award to Valentina Greco," Rossant said. "Her enthusiastic nomination by over a dozen leaders in the field of stem cell research demonstrates the significance of her early-career contributions to stem cell biology and regenerative medicine."
The ISSCR Public Service Award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions of public service to the fields of stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Winners are selected by the ISSCR board of directors. Past winners include Hiromitsu and Betty Jean Crouch Ogawa, Rob and Cheryl McEwen and Robert Klein.
Award recipients Bianco, Cattaneo and De Luca were selected for their recent involvement in public debate and policy-making in Italy, championing rigorous scientific and medical standards and stringent regulatory oversight in the introduction of new stem cell treatments into the clinic.
The International Society for Stem Cell Research is an independent, nonprofit membership organization established to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.