Congratulations to Sabrina Lin and Tiffany Satoorian– winners of CMDB Symposium Awards!

Sabrina Lin, a graduate student in Dr. Prue Talbot’s lab and Tiffany Satoorian, a PhD student working with Dr. Michael Pirrung, were recipients this year of awards for best presentations at the 10th Annual Cell, Molecular, and Development Biology Research Symposium. Both students gave presentations dealing with their work on human embryonic stem cells (hESC).


Sabrina, whose presentation was titled “Determining the effects of cigarette smoke on early development using a novel time lapse assay and human embryonic stem cells as a model for pre-implantation embryos” won the First Place Award. Sabrina presented a new method for assaying the toxicity of environmental chemicals with hESC. This method utilizes BioStation technology for collecting video data from live cells in an incubator. Using this technology, she was able to show that sidestream cigarette smoke from harm reduction cigarettes (which are often advertized as being safe to smoke) was in fact more potent than sidestream smoke from a widely used conventional brand. Sidestream smoke is inhaled by passive smokers. This work is important in showing that tobacco products often sold as “safer” are not necessarily less dangerous and may in fact be more dangerous than conventional brands.

Tiffany won the Second Place Award for her presentation entitled “Increasing human embryonic stem cell clonal survival using small molecules”. Tiffany’s goal is to find small molecules that can be used to increase the attachment and survival of hESC in culture. She tested asterriquinones and found that one member of this family, DAQ B1, activated the same signal transduction pathways as neurotropins that are known to enhance hESC survival. One chemical that Tiffany tested was found to improve survival of hESC colonies and offers a promising prospect for future work on clonal survival using defined media.

Congratulations Sabrina and Tiffany!





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