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Showing posts from October, 2016

Event Recap: The Importance of Science-Informed Policy & Law Making

by Ian McLaughlin
Last week, we held a panel discussion focused on the importance of science-informed policy & law making.  The panel included Dr. Michael Mann, a climatologist and geophysicist at Pennsylvania State University who recently wrote The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy.   Dr. Andrew Zwicker, a member of the New Jersey General Assembly and a physicist who heads the Science Education Department of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, joined him.  Finally, Shaughnessy Naughton, a chemist and entrepreneur who ran for congressional office in Pennsylvania and founded the 314 PAC, which promotes the election of candidates with backgrounds in STEM fields to public office, joined the panel as well.
The event began with personal introductions, with each member characterizing their unique perspectives and personal histories.  Shaughnessy Naughton highlighted the scarcity of legislators with bac…

New Research shows how to make Human Stem Cell Lines divide equally

by Amaris Castanon For the first time, scientists have generated haploid embryonic stem (ES) cell lines in humans, as published in Nature. This could lead to novel cell therapies for genetic diseases – even color blindness (Benvenisty et al., 2016) The study was performed by scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem(Israel) in collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF). The newly derived pluripotent, human ES cell lines demonstrated their ability to ‘self-renew’ while maintaining a normal haploid karyotype (i.e. without chromosomal breakdown after each generation) (Benvenisty et al., 2016). While gamete manipulation in other mammalian species has yielded several ES cell lines (Yang, H. et al., Leeb, M. & Wutz, A.), this is the first study to report human cells capable of cell division with merely one copy of the parent’s cell genome (Benvenisty et al., 2016). The genetic match between the stem cells and the egg do…