The following commercials were produced entirely by Brooke Ellison’s students at Stonybrook University.
From Library Journal
At age 11, Brooke Ellison was left paralyzed from the neck down after being hit by an automobile. Writing together in alternating chapters, Brooke and her mother, Jean, document the exhausting efforts and dedication that it took for Brooke to beat overwhelming physical odds and finally graduate, with honors, from Harvard University. The story begins on the day of the accident and ends triumphantly with Brooke’s graduation speech from college. Brooke’s upbeat account of her college experience reveals her charming and witty nature, and Jean’s contribution is a testimony to the profound powers of a mother’s love and unfailing dedication. Although many other biographies of quadriplegics are available, this one, written with keen intellect and an open heart, deserves attention. It is recommended for both public and school libraries seeking nonfiction that provides strong role models for adolescents. Academic libraries supporting a curriculum in the health sciences might also find this suitable. Deborah Anne Broocker, Georgia Perimeter Coll., Dunwoody
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Wise Young, founding director of the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience and a professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is recognized as one of the world’s outstanding neuroscientists. Before coming to Rutgers, Young was director of neurosurgery research at New York University and part of the team that discovered and established high-dose methylprednisolone as the first effective therapy for spinal cord injuries. That 1990 work upended conventional wisdom that such injuries led to permanent damage, refocused research, and opened new vistas of hope for the quarter-million Americans paralyzed by an injury to the spinal cord.
Today, the dream of therapies that restore function and feeling is becoming a reality, and Young is leading the search for cures. He sees stem cell research as an extremely important pursuit that holds tremendous promise for treating and curing a host of devastating diseases and disorders, including spinal cord injury and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Kevin Eggan is a developmental biologist at the forefront of addressing fundamental questions about cellular differentiation and plasticity; in addition to their importance to basic biology, these questions hold essential implications for developing therapeutic stem cell lines from adult cell nuclei. His research explores the mechanisms by which somatic cell nuclear transfer can reverse the differentiation of a cell by “reprogramming” its nucleus to the totipotent state. His accomplishments place him at the forefront of a most exciting new branch of biology: the use of nuclear transfer and stem cell technologies to explore mammalian development, i.e., how a single cell grows into a complex organism. More recently, he showed that nuclei of even highly specialized cells, such as olfactory neurons which express only a single odorant receptor, retain full developmental potential.
By exploring the possibilities of redirecting stem cells from adult tissue or differentiated tissue, Eggan is moving us an important step closer to developing therapeutic applications for diseases such as Parkinson’s and insulin-dependent diabetes, as well as providing an experimental platform for investigating the genetic and environmental factors that give rise to such diseases.
Much of Dr. Varmus’ scientific work was conducted during 23 years as a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School, where he and Dr. J. Michael Bishop and their co-workers demonstrated the cellular origins of the oncogene of a chicken retrovirus. This discovery led to the isolation of many cellular genes that normally control growth and development and are frequently mutated in human cancer. For this work, Bishop and Varmus received many awards, including the 1989 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Varmus is also widely recognized for his studies of the replication cycles of retroviruses and hepatitis B viruses, the functions of genes implicated in cancer, and the development of mouse models of human cancer.
In addition, he has overseen the construction of new clinical facilities (for pediatrics, pathology, urology, and surgery); the planning of a new center for breast cancer treatment and imaging; the founding of a hospital-based program in translational research (the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program); and the development of the Tri-Institutional Stem Cell Initiative. To ensure that MSKCC is promoting high quality cancer care for all citizens of New York and equal opportunities for its employees, he has helped to found and oversee a new cancer clinic in central Harlem (the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention) and new programs for diversity and gender equity (the Office of Diversity Programs in Clinical Care, Research, and Training, and the Women Faculty Affairs Program).
Sloan-Kettering – President’s Pages
Dr. Hans S. Keirstead is an Associate Professor at the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, and Co-Director of the Stem Cell Research Center at the University of California at Irvine. The Canadian-born neuroscientist received his PhD from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. His PhD thesis concerned his invention of a novel method for regenerating damaged spinal cords, and formed the basis of several worldwide patents as well as the formation of a company in 1999. This work constituted the first demonstration of functional regeneration of the injured adult spinal cord, and for his achievements he received the Cameron Award for the outstanding PhD thesis in Canada.
Dr. Keirstead then moved to Cambridge England, where he conducted four years of Post-Doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge, furthering his studies of spinal cord injury and beginning studies of multiple sclerosis. He was awarded Canadian and British Fellowships to support this work. He received the distinct honor of election to two senior academic posts, Fellow of the Governing Body of Downing College, and Senate Member of the University of Cambridge, and was the youngest member to be elected to those positions.
In 2000, Dr. Keirstead joined the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California at Irvine. The Reeve-Irvine Research Center, founded by the late Christopher Reeve and philanthropist Joan Irvine, is a leading center for spinal cord injury research. Dr. Keirstead directs a large team investigating the cellular biology and treatment of spinal cord trauma, research that also has significance for multiple sclerosis and other diseases of the nervous system. In order to bring his treatments to clinical trials, he has founded or partnered with biotechnology companies to fund and conduct pre-clinical and clinical development. Dr. Keirstead was recently awarded the Distinguished Assistant Professor of UCI Award, the UCI Academic Senate’s highest honor, and was thereafter promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. In 2005, he was awarded the UCI Innovation Award for innovative research leading to corporate and clinical development.
Dr. Keirstead has testified at Federal and California Senate Hearings on several occasions regarding the potential of stem cells, is an avid scientific correspondent for public education, was an advisor to the California government on stem cell policy, was a Scientific Advisory Committee Member of the California Stem Cell Initiative that authored Proposition 71, and maintains working relationships with several stem cell companies, venture capital groups, and government economic development offices in the United States, Sweden and Norway.
Dr. Keirstead is also Vice Chancellor of Academic Development at UDECOM (University of Community Development, in French) situated in Guinea, Africa. UDECOM grants Bachelors and PhD degrees for community development in rural Africa. Dr. Keirstead leads several efforts to develop the university and improve the quality of lives for those in the surrounding communities.
The focus of the Keirstead laboratory is the development of strategies to limit degeneration and enhance regeneration after spinal cord injury and disease. The Keirstead Research Group utilizes a broad number of investigative techniques, including molecular and histological analyses, complex tissue culture, and in vivo experimentation. The Keirstead Research Group is also staffed to engage in FDA compliant pre-clinical work, employing a Regulatory Quality Assurance team that ensures that all research is FDA compliant.
The Keirstead Research Group is investigating strategies to reduce or eliminate the post traumatic enlargement of spinal cord injury sites that normally occurs after traumatic injury. The team developed an injection-based therapy that significantly decreased tissue loss if administered soon after injury. Human reagents necessary for clinical trials have been generated, and a clinical trial using this approach began in late-2005.
The Keirstead Research Group also investigates cell transplantation therapy for spinal cord injury, and was the first laboratory in North America to gain access to human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) for CNS trauma research. The team is generating new hESC lines from blastocysts and using somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), and developing protocols to differentiate hESCs into high purity populations of human cells. For example, the team developed high purity hESC-derived oligodendrocyte progenitors with the goal of treating demyelination in acute spinal cord injury, and investigating the development of this human lineage. This work is the basis of a therapy that is currently being developed for clinical trials. The laboratory is generating other cell populations that may benefit chronic spinal cord injury and other diseases of the spinal cord, and is also researching means to eliminate the glial scar that forms after spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.
Reeve-Irvine Research Center – Faulty – Hans Keirstead
Our laboratory focuses on the biology of embryonic stem cells and neural stem cells. We are interested in defining mechanisms regulating neuronal and glial differentiation of stem/progenitor cells, and on understanding how growth factors promote neuronal and glial survival and phenotypic expression.
These studies seek to identify the cytokines that regulate stem cell proliferation and differentiation, to define the intracellular signals that transduce their effects, and to understand how the effects of different growth factors are integrated by the progenitor cell. Although the principal focus of these studies is on definition of mechanisms underlying stem cell differentiation, a significant effort is also devoted to applying molecular neurobiology to clinical problems. Specifically we are developing techniques for the treatment of spinal cord injury and stroke.
Dr. Nurse’s research focuses on the molecular machineries that control cell division and cell shape. Using fission yeast as a model system, Dr. Nurse studies the cell cycle and cell morphogenesis controls operative in eukaryotic cells. His contributions include the co-discovery of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) as the key regulator molecule controlling mitosis and S phase, and his findings have had implications for understanding cell reproduction, cell growth, development and cancer.
Dr. Nurse’s research has greatly broadened scientists’ understanding of how cells divide and how cell division goes awry in diseases such as cancer. Dr. Nurse identified genes corresponding to CDK, paving the way for scientists to identify six different CDK molecules in human cells and to find that higher than normal levels of CDK characterize some human tumors such as breast cancer.
In the early 1990s, my laboratory derived ES cells from an Old World monkey (the rhesus macaque) and a New World monkey (the common marmoset), work that led to the derivation of human ES cells. Much of the initial work in my laboratory after that derivation focused on establishing human ES cells as an accepted, practical model system. We are now focused on using these tools to understand the basic biology of pluripotency. For example, we use several conditions that induce uniform differentiation to specific lineages to study in detail how ES cells decide to exit the pluripotent state and become restricted in their potential, and we use a hematopoietic model system to study how that process of restriction can be reversed.