Maya Sieber-Blum, who discovered embryonic neural crest stem cells in adult hair follicles and is Professor of Stem Cell Sciences at Newcastle University, presented at the World Stem Cell Summit in Madison, Wisconsin Monday, September 22 and Tuesday, September 23.
Dr. Sieber-Blum spoke about collaboration on Tuesday, says relocating to Newcastle in North England was key to continued development of her breakthrough discoveries. Implications for her research include future treatments for birth defects, genetic diseases, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and regeneration of difficult bone fractures.
“I recently moved my lab to the UK because there is strong collaboration here and it is more difficult to attain human skin in the U.S.”, says Dr. Sieber-Blum, who is part of the research team at the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI). “Here at NESCI, I receive human skin regularly.”
Dr. Sieber-Blum, together with her collaborator Dr. Milos Grim, first discovered neural crest stem cells in hair follicles of adult mice, and later in that of adult humans. Neural crest cells are embryonic multipotent stem cells that are able to develop into a wide variety of cells including the peripheral nervous system, adrenal gland, smooth musculature of the cardiac outflow tract, facial bone, teeth, and skin pigment cells.
By understanding how these stem cells differentiate to become specialized cells and manipulating them, Dr. Sieber-Blum’s work can lead to the development of new treatments.
But key to more quickly translating discoveries into usable therapies is collaboration among life science companies, researchers in the lab and clinical settings, like hospitals.
“There is a mutual understanding about the importance of translational research among basic scientists and clinicians in Newcastle.” explains Dr. Sieber-Blum “These collaborations are essential for speeding translational stem cell biology.”
Dr. Sieber-Blum is available for interviews about her discoveries, continuing stem cell research, the importance of collaboration in stem cell advancements and her personal experiences as a scientist and a female scientist.
About North of England Inward Investment Agency
The North of England Inward Investment Agency (northengland.com) is a UK government-sponsored group that helps U.S and Canadian companies open offices in the North England region. It offers free, confidential services – such as market analysis, introductions to funding, and site location assistance – to help businesses expand by tapping into the opportunities, people and affordability of North England.
About North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI)
North East England Stem Cell Institute (nesci.ac.uk) brings together universities in North East England and UK National Health Service Trusts, the Centre for Life and the Regional Development Agency, ONE NorthEast, in an interdisciplinary collaboration to turn stem cell research into cost effective, ethical health treatments to degenerative diseases, the effects of ageing, and serious injury.