Adult stem cell research and how it can help cure Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injuries will be discussed Oct. 18 at the technology forum sponsored by New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Ira Black, MD, founding director of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey, will be the featured speaker. NJIT Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Treena Livingston Arinzeh, the only Northeast recipient of the National Science Foundation’s 2003 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), will also discuss her work.
Black, professor and chairman of the department of neuroscience and cell biology at the University for Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is a leading expert in stem cell research. His work has succeeded in converting adult bone marrow stem cells into nerve cells. Arinzeh’s research also focuses on adult stem cells. She uses some of Black’s protocols in her work.
The forum will take place in the NJIT Campus Center Ballroom from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. It is free and open to the public. (Editors: Call Sheryl Weinstein at 973-596-3436 to cover the lecture.)
Black’s research is being applied to the treatment of degenerative and acute neurological diseases. His studies suggest that adult cells are far more flexible than formerly assumed. These adult stem cells are now being transplanted to embryos to prevent birth defects, and to adults to treat models of degenerative and mid-life diseases.
Black, who has written 200 articles in neuroscience and three books, is past president of the Society for Neuroscience of North America. He is also chair of publications for the International Society for Stem Cell Research and chair of the scientific advisory council of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.
Black’s lecture is the second in NJIT’s new technology and society forum series. The series is designed to stimulate conversation between the experts and members of the community about the social implications of cutting-edge technologies. The next talk is set for Nov. 10, when prominent physicist Freeman Dyson, PhD, of the Institute for Advance Studies at Princeton, will explore the ramifications of genetic engineering.
NSF’s Presidential PECASE award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on scientists and engineers beginning their careers.