More Than 100 Scientists to Meet to Discuss Progress in Stem Cell Research

Will Showcase Work of First Recipients of New York State Research Grants

ALBANY, NY (June 11, 2009) – More than 100 scientists from across New York will gather in Albany on Friday to discuss recent progress made in stem cell research.

The scientists will discuss their research on June 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center, 660 Albany Shaker Road, in Albany.

The meeting represents the first time academic researchers and others will meet under the banner of the New York State Stem Cell Science/NYSTEM program since the program was first established in 2007, when New York State began the first year of a planned 11-year, $600 million initiative to support stem cell research.

The one-day, intensive scientific meeting will bring together stem cell researchers responsible for a wide array of stem cell biology-related research topics under investigation at diverse institutions across the state, including academic medical centers, freestanding biomedical research centers, and public and private universities and colleges.

The meeting, Stem Cell Science in New York State: Emerging Opportunities, will showcase the work of 25 research institutions that were the first recipients of NYSTEM funding, totaling $14.5 million. The grants were targeted to supplement existing stem cell research projects, support the purchase of research equipment and core research facilities, and support training to increase the capacity of New York institutions to engage in stem cell research.

"As a result of Governor Paterson's strong leadership and support for stem cell research, this state funding is providing an economic boost by invigorating New York's biotechnology industry and will ultimately translate into potential new treatments and cures for devastating diseases," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "The sharing of information at this scientific meeting will help foster a strong stem cell research community in New York State and advance the field of stem cell science."

Commissioner Daines will be speaking at the scientific meeting in his role as chair of the Empire State Stem Cell Board, which recommends grant awards for research, infrastructure development, training, and ethical, legal and social implications, as well as policy and education related to stem cell research. To date, the Board has committed $166 million in all funding categories. Funds are administered by NYSTEM staff in the State Health Department's Wadsworth Center laboratories.

Following Dr. Daines' opening remarks, a keynote address will be delivered by Susan Solomon, chief executive officer of the New York Stem Cell Foundation, a Manhattan-based private philanthropy that supports stem cell research through research grants, training opportunities, and infrastructure support. Ms. Solomon will speak on Opportunity for Excellence: The Critical Role of State Programs in the New Federal Landscape.

Plenary talks will address several research topics, including: tissue engineering; stem cells in their natural environment in model organisms such as plants, fruit flies and mice; and stem cells of the nervous system and their potential use in disease treatments. In addition, Dr. Allen Spiegel, dean of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will moderate a panel discussion about the opportunities and challenges of translating basic science discoveries into clinically useful applications.

The meeting was planned by the NYSTEM science team at Wadsworth in conjunction with a planning committee of representatives from funded institutions chaired by Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., the Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor at Rockefeller University. The event is the first of what is expected to be annual scientific meetings conducted for the state's stem cell science community.

The full meeting agenda is available at: www.stemcell.ny.gov/grantee_conference.html