Two UCR labs have recently published new papers dealing with Stem Cell Biology.

Dr. Nicole zur Nieden, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience, recently published a new stem cell paper in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. Dr. zur Nieden's past work included making improvements in the Embryonic Stem Cell Test (EST), a validated assay based on the differentiation of cardiomyocytes that is used to predict embryotoxicty of environmental chemicals and drugs. In her new publication, Dr. zur Nieden's lab takes this assay a step further by adapting it to identify compounds that can impair normal development of bone. Developmental defects in bone are among the most serious induced by drugs and environmental chemicals and can produce growth retardation, limb abnormalities, and craniofacial malformations. Thus developing new methods based on assays that detect defects in bone development can be very important in preventing future birth defects and can be used to screen pharmaceuticals before they are released for general use. In this study, the differentiation of stem cells into osteocytes was measured using three endpoints, and the effects of chemicals with known embryotoxicity were studied to determine if they could accurately predict developmental problems using this system. The authors were able to identify two novel endpoints that enable abnormal bone development to be evaluated using embryonic stem cell differentiation into bone-like cells. This assay could become important in industrial applications as the endpoints are less expensive and easier to obtain than the molecular readouts currently in use.

Dr. Prue Talbot's lab recently published a video paper in the Journal for Visualized Research (JOVE). This paper describes a new method for analyzing the growth of human embryonic stem cell colonies from time lapse video data using subroutines created with CL Quant software. The new Stem Cell Core Facility at UCR has a BioStation CT that enables time lapse data to be collected with ease. The software described in the JOVE publication facilitates straightforward and rapid analysis of data collected using the BioStation. The endpoint evaluated in this publication, embryonic stem cell colony growth, was subsequently used in a study done to compare the toxicity of smoke from conventional and harm reduction cigarettes. While applied only to human embryonic stem cell colonies in this publication, the subroutines presented in this paper could also be used with any cells that growth in colonies.

Links to Publications:

Click here for article from Zur Nieden Lab

Click here for article from Talbot Lab

Posted 09-14-2010

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