SCA-iCeMS symposium held, accelerating Australia-Japan collaboration on stem cell research

From left: Professor Mark Hargreaves, Pro Vice-Chancellor (research partnerships) of the University of Melbourne; Professor Norio Nakatsuji, Founding Director of iCeMS; Professor Martin Pera, SCA Program Leader

15 February 2013

Leading Australian and Japanese experts in bioengineering, nanotechnology, stem cell biology and clinical research met at a two day summit to share ideas and forge plans on how to address some of the big questions in stem cell science.

Hosted by Stem Cells Australia (SCA) at the University of Melbourne, researchers from across Australia joined visiting scientists from Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) and Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) to explore new collaborative opportunities.

Professor Martin Pera, who leads the SCA initiative and is the Chair of Stem Cell Science at the University of Melbourne, said "Stem cell research is a field with great opportunity but also enormous challenges. These challenges will only be met by an international effort that promotes free exchange of information, collaboration, and effective use of research resources".

The Japanese delegation was led by Professor Norio Nakatsuji, Founding Director of iCeMS, Kyoto University's premier interdisciplinary research initiative with a focus on stem cell science and technology.

Professor Nakatsuji commented, "By facilitating scientific exchange between leading scientists in Stem Cells Australia and iCeMS, we will be able to accelerate the progress of both teams towards applications of stem cells in research and medicine".

Key areas that were identified for future projects include neural and cardiac disease modeling, sharing media and culturing techniques and further strengthening bioinformatics platforms.

Australian delegates included Prof Peter Gray, Director of University of Queensland's Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology (AIBN) and Prof Nadia Rosenthal, Director of Monash University's Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), together with SCA colleagues from CSIRO, Florey Neuroscience Institutes, Centre for Eye Research Australia and University of Melbourne.

The summit was supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australia-Japan Foundation.

Symposium Program

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Session 1: Pluripotency & Reprogramming [Chair: Prof Norio Nakatsuji]
Prof Martin Pera | UoM & FNI & WEHI A Close Up View of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells
Dr Kouichi Hasegawa | iCeMS Wnt Signaling Orchestration with a Small Molecule DYRK Inhibitor Provides FGF/TGFβ -- Independent Human Pluripotent Cell Renewal
Dr Andrew Laslett | CSIRO Harnessing pluripotency: novel tools for human stem cell biology
Dr Knut Woltjen | CiRA & iCeMS Transposon Systems to Guiding Somatic Cell Reprogramming and Differentiation
Session 2: Cardiac [Chair: Prof Nadia Rosenthal]
Dr Itsunari Minami | iCeMS Robust cardiac differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells under defined, cytokine- and xeno-free conditions
Prof Nadia Rosenthal | ARMI Heart regeneration
Dr Shin Kadota | iCeMS Development of a heart rhythm disease model in human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiac cell sheets
Session 3: Material Sciences and Microfluidics [Chair: Professor Peter Gray]
Prof Peter Gray | AIBN Use of novel bio-functionalised scaffolds and nanobioreactors for PSC expansion and controlled differentiation under defined conditions
Dr Sanghamitra Nusrat Jahan | iCeMS A molecular screw designed to permeate the barrier of plasma membrane of living cell
Dr Keith McLean | CSIRO Biomaterials and Surfaces for Stem Cell Applications
Dr Ken-ichiro Kamei | iCeMS Gelatin nanofibrous scaffold to maintain human ES/iPS cells for long-term period
Dr Susie Nilsson | CSIRO Understanding the Hemopoietic stem cell niche
Session 4: Exploring Collaborative Opportunities (discussions held simultaneously)
Pluripotency & Reprogramming
Material Sciences & Microfluidics

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Session 5: Neural [Chair: Prof Norio Nakatsuji]
Prof Trevor Kilpatrick | UoM & FNI SCA activity in the neurosciences
Prof Norio Nakatsuji | iCeMS Multidisciplinary Research of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells at iCeMS: Creation of neurodegenerative disease model cells and novel 3D culture system for large-scale production and application
Dr Alice Pébay | UoM & CERA The inflammatory LPA modifies neural stem/progenitor cell differentiation
Session 6: Platforms [Chair: Dr Knut Woltjen]
Dr Dan Ohtan Wang | iCeMS Imaging Spatiotemporal RNA Regulation with Photochemical Probes
Prof Christine Wells | AIBN Collaboration platforms for visualising and sharing stem cell omics data
Dr Shintaro Sengoku | iCeMS Global competencies from regional stem cell research: a bibliometric approach for investigating and forecasting research trends
Session 7: Exploring Collaborative Opportunities (discussions held simultaneously)
Session 8: Next steps [Chairs: Profs Pera and Nakatsuji]
General discussion with each group reporting on collaborative opportunities
Concluding comments from Profs Pera and Nakatsuji

The SCA-iCeMS Joint Symposium is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

AIBN Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland
ARMI Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University
AIBN Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology, University of Queensland
CERA Centre for Eye Research Australia
CiRA Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University
CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
FNI Florey Neuroscience Institutes
iCeMS Institute for Integrated Cell-Materials Sciences, Kyoto University
UoM University of Melbourne
WEHI Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research


The venue: Melbourne Brain Centre

The SCA-iCeMS joint symposium delegates

The "pluripotency and reprogramming" session speakers engage in a discussion.

The "cardiac" session speakers engage in a discussion.

The "materials science and microfluidics" session speakers engage in a discussion.