Stem Cells at the Dawn of New Medicine: From Peas to Petri Dishes
November 08, 2017, 6:00 PM
The Embassy of the Czech Republic will bring the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2017 – Gregor Mendel to a close within its premises on November 8, 2017, at 6 pm, with a fascinating lecture by Dr. Hynek Wichterle of Columbia University Medical Center on Stem Cells at the Dawn of New Medicine. He will discuss in detail how Gregor Mendel’s work put us on a trajectory to the revolutionary science of today, a science that endows us with the ability to program and re-program cell identities at will, and that allows us to study human brain diseases in a petri dish, without opening the skull.
Interestingly, Dr. Wicheterle is the grandson of renowned Czech chemist Otto Wichterle, best known for his invention of soft contact lenses. More information about his discoveries will be on display in the educational exhibition Czech Scientists and Their Inventions.
About Hynek Wichterle, Ph.D.
Hynek Wichterle is associate director of the JP Sulzberger Columbia Genome Center. He is also an associate professor holding a joint appointment in the Departments of Pathology & Cell Biology and Neuroscience (in Neurology) at Columbia University Medical Center. He received his MS degree from Charles University in Prague and his PhD degree from The Rockefeller University. He trained at Columbia University, where he became assistant professor in 2004 and associate professor in 2012. He serves as a co-director of the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative and as a Vice-Chief of the Division of Regenerative Medicine in the Department of Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine.
Dr. Wichterle developed groundbreaking methods for producing spinal cord neurons from pluripotent embryonic stem cells in a culture dish. The process faithfully recapitulates normal embryonic development, providing a unique opportunity to study and experimentally probe nerve cells in a controlled environment outside of the embryo. He is using the system to decode transcriptional programs that control genes important for neuronal differentiation and function. His lab also capitalizes on the unlimited source of spinal neurons to study motor neuron degenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), with the goal of discovering new drugs for these currently untreatable, devastating conditions.
Date: November 8, 2017, 6 pm
Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom St, NW, Washington, DC 20008
RSVP by November 7, 2017 6 PM
Embassy policy: No bags or suitcases allowed. Only small purses permitted but will be checked at the door. No coat check available. You must pass through security for entrance. RSVP confirmation and photo ID required. Doors close at 6:15 pm.
Parking: Non-metered parking is available on Spring of Freedom Street and Tilden Street.
Closest Metro: The Embassy is about a 15-20 minute walk from the Van Ness Metro Station.