2022 Annual Report

Page 1


The UW Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC) operates under the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education. The center provides a central point of contact, information, and facilitation for campus stem cell researchers

SCRMC faculty members collaborate across several UW Madison schools, colleges, departments and centers, including SMPH, UW Health, College of Engineering, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Morgridge Institute for Research, Waisman Center, Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, and many others.

The center’s mission is to advance the science of stem cell biology and foster breakthroughs in regenerative medicine through faculty interactions, research support, and education

Our Goals:

Maintain UW Madison as a leader in stem cell and regenerative medicine research and application

Foster increased stem cell and regenerative medicine communication within campus and beyond its borders.

Support stem cell and regenerative medicine research: basic, translational, clinical, bioethics, and public policy Develop educational, training, and outreach programs.

Enhance philanthropic support.


Our Mission

Departments represented Members
115 51
number of
published in 2022 700
from across campus
Photo Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

As 2022 comes to a close, we are excited to see the wheels of discovery and innovation get back up to speed after COVID challenged 2020 and 2021

Whether it is the creation of stem cells from minipigs (pg 3), our improved understanding of early spinal cord development (pg. 5), blood stem cells (pg.7), or the more than 700 other studies SCRMC members have completed this year, we're proud to say that the SCRMC is advancing the science of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

None of this would be possible, however, without the incredible work of faculty, staff, trainees (pg 13), students (pg. 9 & 11), and our generous donors. In fact, this year we were fortunate to receive an endowed professorship (pg. 18) that will support SCRMC leadership for years to come We are grateful for this gift and every donation as they are critical to our mission and our ability to positively transform the future of medicine.



Coverphotocreditsfrombottomlefttoright: Bottomleft:Figurefrom"Humanphotoreceptors switchfromautonomousaxonextensiontocell mediatedprocesspullingduringsynapticmarker redistribution"publishedinCellReports, May17,2022

Middleleft:Figurefrom"Cardiacdifferentiationof humanpluripotentstemcellsusingdefined extracellularmatrixproteinsrevealsessentialroleof fibronectin"publishedineLife,June27,2022

Middleright:Figurefrom "Modularderivationof diverse,regionallydiscretehumanposteriorCNS neuronsenablesdiscoveryoftranscriptomic patterns"publishedinScientificAdvances, September30,2022

Upperright:Imagefrom"Definingthe ultrastructureofthehematopoieticstemcellniche bycorrelativelightandelectronmicroscopy" publishedineLife,August9,2022, KeunyoungKim Topright:Tissuesofectodermfrom"Epigenetic regulationofBAF60Adeterminesefficiencyof miniatureswineiPSCgeneration"publishedin ScientificReports,May31,2022



ImageAwardwinner,PhotoreceptorsSeededIn HoneycombScaffolds:Immunocytochemistryof photoreceptorcellsseededinthehoneycomb patternedscaffolds,whereRecoverinandCRX proteinsarelabeledwithgreenandred, respectively Page3circlephotocredit:UW Madison Page5circlephotocredit:UW Madison Page7circlephotocredit:OwenTamplin Page14photocredit:BekahMcBride 2 3 Creating stem cells from minipigs offers promise for improved treatments 5 Improved understanding of early spinal cord development paves the way for new treatments 7 See through zebrafish, new imaging method put blood stem cells in high resolution spotlight 9 Student Success 11 SURF program prepares students to ride the waves of research Save the Date & Events 14 SCRMC and Member Updates 15 17 18 Friends of SCRMC Updates Endowed Professorship

Creating stem cells from minipigs offers promise for improved treatments

Cells from miniature pigs are paving the way for improved stem cell therapies.

A team led by UW Madison Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center researcher

Wan Ju Li offers an improved way to create a particularly valuable type of stem cell in pigs a cell that could speed the way to treatments that restore damaged tissues for conditions from osteoarthritis to heart disease in human patients

In a study published in Scientific Reports, Li’s team also provides insights into the reprogramming process that turns cells from one part of the body into pluripotent stem cells, a type of building block cell that can transform into any type of tissue. These new insights will help researchers study treatments for a wide range of diseases

The researchers turned to pigs, a well established animal model for potential human treatments, because translating research to improve human health is deeply important to Li, a professor of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation and Biomedical Engineering He has spent much of his career studying cartilage and bone regeneration to develop innovative therapies to help people

Li and members of his Musculoskeletal Biology and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory obtained skin cells from the ears of three different breeds of miniature pigs Wisconsin miniature swine, Yucatan miniature swine, and Göttingen minipigs.

The researchers reprogrammed the cells to create induced pluripotent stem cells and demonstrated that they have the capacity to become different types of tissue cells Pluripotent stem cells are the body’s master cells, and they are invaluable to medicine since they can be used for the regeneration or repair of damaged tissues Findings of this study suggest that the miniature pig is a promising animal model for pre clinical research. The team plans to use the established pig model to reproduce their recent findings of cartilage regeneration in rats as reported in Science Advances.

Regenerating cartilage in animals even more alike to humans moves science one step closer to helping patients experiencing joint diseases such as osteoarthritis

Wan Ju Li (left) shows a collagen fiber sample to Gwen Plunkett Funding from the Plunkett Family Foundation has contributed to research on cartilage repair therapies Credit: Jordana Lenon

“In successfully developing induced pluripotent stem cells from three different breeds of minipigs, we learned we can take somatic skin cells from these pigs that we programmed ourselves and then inject them back into the same animal to repair cartilage defects,” says Li “Or we can create induced pluripotent stem cells from the skin cell that carried the gene causing cartilage diseases such as chondrodysplasia and put that into the culture dish and use that as a disease model to study disease formation.”

Li says the approach can be applied to regenerative therapies targeting any organ or tissue.

and ancestry and lead to better tailored therapies.

“I want to make sure that our findings in stem cell research can be used to help people,” says Li

“I just feel this internal drive to study this area and I feel good knowing this model carries significant weight in terms of its potential for translational stem cell research and the development of therapeutic treatments”

Interest in moving these treatments forward has grown, and while the study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, Li also received support from the Milwaukee based Plunkett Family Foundation through their donation to the SCRMC After hearing of Li’s research, Gwen Plunkett and her daughter Karen visited Li’s lab in 2019 to learn more They were inspired to support research into stem cells for cartilage regeneration

The team also found that a particular protein complex involved in managing the way genes are expressed, and tied to cellular growth and survival, could influence how efficiently induced pluripotent stem cells are generated “While we successfully created induced pluripotent stem cells from the three different strains of pig, we noticed that some pigs had a higher reprogramming efficiency,” says Li “So, the second part of our findings, which is significant in biology, is understanding how these differences occur and why”

These findings, he says, may directly translate to understanding differences in the effectiveness of induced pluripotent stem cell generation between individual people one study has shown cellular reprogramming efficiency varying by age

“Innovation in medicine sparks critical change, for the world and the survival of our species, and the Plunkett Family mission is to be a catalyst in stem cell and regenerative medicine research,” says Karen Plunkett.

The donation was profoundly impactful, says Li, allowing him to further his goal of using stem cells to help patients living with osteoarthritis and other joint diseases many of whom write his lab regularly in hope of finding a clinical trial opportunity “I have to keep saying, ‘Wait for another two, three years, maybe we’ll be ready for a clinical trial,’” Li says “But for me, it’s time to move on and really do our larger animal studies to fulfill our promise. At least that way, I can fill the gap between the lab and clinical trials as the larger animals must be studied before you go into a clinical trial”

The Plunkett family joins researchers for a tour of Li’s lab Right to left are Ellen Leiferman, Jordana Lenon, Gwen Plunkett, Wan Ju Li, Karen Plunkett Credit: Jordana Lenon

Improved understanding of early spinal cord development paves the way for new treatments

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Madison are developing the means to turn stem cells into a wide range of specific types of spinal cord neurons and cells in the hindbrain the critical nexus between the spinal cord and the brain paving the way for improved prevention and treatment of spinal cord disease.

The study also uses new bioinformatic analyses to capture previously unknown information about their development in humans

"The ability to study human hindbrain development so early is of high significance because many developmental disorders manifest themselves through disruptions in the developmental program very early,” says Sushmita Roy, UW Madison professor of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, faculty at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and co author of the study with biomedical engineering professor Randolph Ashton, scientist Junha Shin, and Nisha Iyer, a former postdoc in the Ashton lab now at Tufts University

In a new study published in Science Advances, scientists from UW Madison’s Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center describe a new protocol for differentiating human pluripotent stem cells into nearly the full spectrum of neuronal cell types that arise during early hindbrain and spinal cord development important, because neuronal cells have so many different, specialized jobs within the body. “Wha will a w

“Having a model system to study this process will help us understand possible regulatory or genetic causes of different developmental diseases,” Roy says.

Timelineofdifferentiationfromregion specificNMPs,to discretepCNSPs,dorsal(dP)andventral(vP)progenitors, andpostmitoticneurons.Credit:ScienceAdvancesVolume 8,Issue39,September2022

Combining Roy’s experience with machine learning and gene regulatory networks, and Ashton’s expertise in neurodevelopment and stem cell bioengineering, the labs developed a unique resource mapping the gene expression changes that mark differences between neuronal cell subtypes along the hindbrain and spinal cord.


“This is something that we, as scientists, really haven’t had good access to before, but stem cells are allowing us to start exploring this” says Ashton, associate director of the SCRMC, also faculty at WID, and CEO and co founder of Neurosetta, LLC “With this paper we can start to fill in those gaps of understanding of how human development occurs in the hindbrain and spinal cord and provide a really nice tool that essentially can lead to a very standardized and scalable protocol to manufacturing regenerative cell transplants.”

With access to subtypes of neuronal cells and information about how they develop and interact in different regions of the spinal cord, Ashton expects researchers will soon be able to manufacture specific cell types for any damaged region of the spine for transplantation and effective post injury regeneration

“This is important because the cell types in different areas of the brain and spinal cord are very region specific,” Ashton says. “In order to get the best therapeutic results, you need to actually make cells from that region of injury. So now we can say, if you need neuronal cells for your C3 through C5 vertebrae, we know how to generate those, and we have developed a scalable protocol for doing that”

t SNEplotwithsevendorsalsamplesandsevenventralsamples (n=46,959cells).Credit:ScienceAdvances Volume8, Issue39 September2022

While there is still much more work to be done before their findings make waves in the clinic, Ashton says that the new study will help researchers screen for therapeutics that could correct abnormal developments in utero that lead to various neurodevelopmental and neurological disorders early on in human development

“What’s most exciting is that this research will allow us to peer into what goes wrong with development and potentially address it,” says Ashton “We’re able to start to think about how we can use these models to prevent some of these disorders from ever occurring. So overall, what this would do in the long run is reduce the prevalence of certain neurological disorders, which could reduce suffering by patients and save the healthcare system significant resources.”

This research was supported by grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (83573701) National Institutes of Health (R01 GM117339, UG3 TR003150 and F32 NS106740) and the National Science Foundation (CAREER Award 1651645)

RandolphAshton SushmitaRoy PhotoCredits: UniversityofWisconsin Madison

See-through zebrafish, new imaging method put blood stem cells in high-resolution spotlight

For the first time, researchers can get a high resolution view of single blood stem cells thanks to a little help from microscopy and zebrafish.

Researchers at the UW Madison and the University of California San Diego have developed a method for scientists to track a single blood stem cell in a live organism and then describe the ultrastructure, or architecture, of that same cell using electron microscopy This new technique will aid researchers as they develop therapies for blood diseases and cancers.

The niche is a microenvironment found within tissues like the bone marrow that contain the blood stem cells that support the blood system. The niche is where specialized interactions between blood stem cells and their neighboring cells occur every second, but these interactions are hard to track and not clearly understood

As a part of the new study, Tamplin and his co lead author, Mark Ellisman, a professor of neuroscience at UC San Diego, identified a way to integrate multiple types of microscopic imaging to investigate a cell’s niche With the newly developed technique that uses confocal microscopy, X ray microscopy, and serial block face scanning electron microscopy, researchers will now be able to track the once elusive cell cell interactions occurring in this space.

“Currently, we look at stem cells in tissues with a limited number of markers and at low resolution, but we are missing so much information,” says Owen Tamplin, an assistant professor in UW Madison’s Department of Cell & Regenerative Biology, a member of the Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center, and a co author on the study, which was published in eLife “Using our new techniques, we can now see not only the stem cell, but also all the surrounding niche cells that are in contact”

As a part of this study, Tamplin, and his colleagues, including co first authors Sobhika Agarwala and Keunyoung Kim, identified dopamine beta hydroxylase positive ganglia cells, which werepreviously an uncharacterized cell type in the blood stem cell niche This is crucial, as understanding the role of neurotransmitters like dopamine in regulating blood stem cells could lead to improved therapeutics

“This has allowed us to identify cell types in the microenvironment that we didn’t even know interacted with stem cells, which is opening new research directions,” Tamplin says
Tracingoffeaturesinalarge3Delectronmicroscopydataset revealsazebrafishbloodstemcell(green)anditssurrounding nichesupportcells

“Transplanted blood stem cells are used as a curative therapy for many blood diseases and cancers, but blood stem cells are very rare and difficult to locate in a living organism,” Tamplin says “That makes it very challenging to characterize them and understand how they interact and connect with neighboring cells”

While blood stem cells are difficult to locate in most living organisms, the zebrafish larva, which is transparent, offers researchers a unique opportunity to view the inner workings of the blood stem cell niche more easily.

“That’s the really nice thing about the zebrafish and being able to image the cells,” Tamplin says of animal’s transparent quality. “In mammals, blood stem cells develop in utero in the bone marrow, which makes it basically impossible to see those events happening in real time. But, with zebrafish you can actually watch the stem cell arrive through circulation, find the niche, attach to it, and then go in and lodge there”

inthemicroenvironmentofalive organism,thenzoominevenfurtheron thesamecellusingelectronmicroscopy

“First,weidentifiedsinglefluorescently labeledstemcellsbylightsheetor confocalmicroscopy,”Tamplinsays “Next, weprocessedthesamesampleforserial block facescanningelectronmicroscopy Wethenalignedthe3Dlightandelectron microscopydatasets.Byintersectingthese differentimagingtechniques,wecouldsee theultrastructureofsinglerarecellsdeep insideatissue.Thisalsoallowedustofind allthesurroundingnichecellsthatcontact abloodstemcell.Webelieveourapproach willbebroadlyapplicableforcorrelative lightandelectronmicroscopyinmany systems”

Tamplinhopesthatthisapproachcanbe usedformanyothertypesofstemcells, suchasthoseinthegut,lung,andthe tumormicroenvironment,whererarecells needtobecharacterizedatnanometer resolution But,asadevelopmental biologist,Tamplinisespeciallyexcitedto seehowthisworkcanimprove researchers’understandingofhowthe bloodstemcellmicroenvironmentforms.

Owen Tamplin

While the zebrafish larva makes it easier to see blood stem cell development, specialized imaging is needed to find such small cells and then detail their ultrastructure Tamplin and his colleagues spent over six years perfecting these imaging techniques

This allowed them to see and track the real time development of a blood stem cell

“Ithinkthisisreallyexcitingbecausewe generateallofourbloodstemcellsduring embryonicdevelopment,anddepending onwhatorganismyouare,afewhundred ormaybeafewthousandofthesestem cellswillendupproducinghundredsof billionsofnewbloodcellseveryday throughoutyourlife,”Tamplinsays “But wereallydon’tknowmuchabouthow stemcellsfirstfindtheirhomeintheniche wherethey’regoingtobefortherestof thelifeoftheorganism Thisresearchwill reallyhelpustounderstandhowstem cellsbehaveandfunction.Abetter understandingofstemcellbehavior,and regulationbysurroundingnichecells, couldleadtoimprovedstemcell based therapies.”

ThisresearchwassupportedbygrantsfromtheNationalInstitutesofHealth (R01HL142998 K01DK103908 1U24NS120055 01 R24GM137200)andthe AmericanHeartAssociation(19POST34380221)



Aging is part of the human experience, but not every experience is the same Progressive neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s disease present many challenges to patients and their families, and researchers like University of Wisconsin Madison senior Samuel Neuman are using stem cells and regenerative medicine to find a solution.

to pursuing careers in science While Neuman has received many accolades, he says that the driver behind his work is the desire to improve quality of life during the aging process.

“I work in a long term care facility, I volunteer to help elderly patients, and what I want to do in science is going to revolve around diseases of aging,” Neuman shared. “Aging itself is scientifically challenging to understand and worthy of introspection on a personal level Anyone with a family member who has had a neurodegenerative disease can attest to how this changes things”

As a biochemistry and biomedical engineering undergraduate student, Neuman is early in his career, but he is already a seasoned lab member, working in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC) faculty member Marina Emborg’s Preclinical Parkinson’s Research Program There, he has been deeply involved in research that has not only earned him an opportunity to coauthor a soon to be published paper, but he was also recently awarded the 2022 Barry Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding undergraduate students who are planning

To combat these challenges, Neuman is centering his studies around regenerative medicine, which focuses on regrowing or repairing damaged tissues. His current research focuses on evaluating whether injected gene editing vehicles, which are capable of editing neurons within the site of injection, can affect other brain regions connected through the neural network. Understanding this will help researchers to know whether therapies such as nanocapsules or viral vectors can have therapeutic benefits for neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease

In this specific case, Neuman is looking at the efficacy of glutathione cleavable polymer nanocapsules developed by the lab of UW Madison College of Engineering Professor Shaoqin (Sarah) Gong in collaboration with the lab of UW Madison College of Engineering Professor Krishanu Saha. These nanocapsules contain gene editing reagents and are hypothesized to edit neurons when injected into the

When age is more than a number, undergraduate SCRMC lab member focuses on regenerative medicine as a way to impede diseases of degeneration and aging Sam Neuman PhotoCredit: LucasBauer

striatum, a part of the brain that is critical for voluntary movement control While this technology is still in its early stages, Neuman is proud to contribute to this work

“It’s nice to be able to talk about how this science could affect diseases of degeneration and aging,” Neuman shared

While Neuman has always been fascinated by the brain and aging, he didn’t always know he would go into biomedical engineering or study regenerative medicine. In fact, when he was attending high school in DeForest, Wisconsin, he was undecided in his collegiate plans. But a research opportunity with the Department of Anesthesiology changed all of that.

“It was a nice introduction that helped me get my foot in the door for future research experiences and show me what sciences means,” Neuman said

worked with, and I really liked their model organisms.”

As part of his work with nanocapsules at Emborg’s lab, Neuman is now involved in research on genetically targeting the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP), a protein whose encoding DNA sequence can carry mutations that can possibly trigger Alzheimer’s disease Additionally, Neuman will be working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) this summer to study how water transport across plasma membranes can be used to indicate cellular metabolic activities

In the future, Neuman plans to attend graduate school, but for now he is focusing on his undergraduate education, his research, and his work with the Student Society for Stem Cell Research (SSSCR). Neuman is currently the outreach coordinator for this student organization which promotes stem cell research in the community and fosters interest in stem cell research at the undergraduate level. “It made me see that the brain is pretty cool Just the idea that billions and billions of neurons can coordinate their efforts to make things that we perceive as consciousness and emotions is amazing”

After that experience, Neuman declared his major in biomedical engineering and reached out to Professor of Medical Physics and Director of the Preclinical Parkinson’s Research Program, Marina Emborg who works with the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center Neuman shared his interests and his experience with Emborg and before too long, he was working in her lab

“Sam reached out to me the summer before starting at UW Madison,” Emborg said “His scientific curiosity and enthusiasm were precious, and I invited him to join my lab.”

Neuman added, “I was really attracted to the complexity of the neuroscience that they

Through his work in the lab and in the community, Neuman hopes to educate people on the benefits of regenerative medicine and the importance of conducting this novel research that may have a significant impact on the future of aging

“I think it’s worth studying,” said Neuman “There isn’t anything quite as human as aging”

Neuman (center) shares insight into the science of stem cells during an SSSCR community event Credit: Jordana Lenon

SURF program prepares students to ride the waves of research

The Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center labs welcomed new members this summer, as five talented undergraduate students joined mentors for more than 10 weeks of collaborative research. This unique experience is a part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), which supports motivated University of Wisconsin Madison undergraduate students as they pursue research in the stem cell sciences

The program, which is sponsored by WiCell, the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC), and the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies (CMaT), awards up to five undergraduate students a $6,000 stipend and the opportunity to collaborate on a stem cell research project while being mentored by a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow.

The program is administered by the Wisconsin Stem Cell Roundtable (WiSCR), an organization of UW Madison graduate student and postdoctoral researchers that aims to foster interaction, collaboration, dialogue, and support among UW stem cell researchers Members of WiSCR help to select the SURF applicants, assign them mentors, and support the participants throughout the 10 week program Members of WiSCR help to select the SURF applicants, assign them mentors, and support the participants throughout the 10 week program

“Being able to provide a positive first experience in stem cell research for UW undergraduate students and accompanying professional development opportunities has been very rewarding,” says Aaron Simmons, a WiSCR officer and PhD student in the Palecek Lab. “I initially became involved in the SURF


Mentor: Khagani Eynullazada

Lab: Rupa Sridharan

Fellow: Christopher Bou Saab

Effect of Reelin on iPSC derived endothelial like cells

Mentor: Hope Holt

Lab: Eric Shusta

Fellow: Amaya Stanley PhotosCourtesyofWiSCR


Mentor: Madeline Smerchansky

Lab: Melissa Kinney

stem cell derived niche for T cell differentiation
Fellow: Karthik Madhusudhanan dentifying Molecular Mechanisms of Stem Cell Maintenance

program in a board member role through my participation in WiSCR. I saw the opportunity as a great way to get more involved in WiSCR, help to select and uplift UW undergraduates interested in getting involved in stem cell research on campus, and learn more about the “other side” of Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) programs having been on the participant’s side of the table before”

Simmons and the other WiSCR officers including Keerthana Shakar and Madeline Smerchansky, aim to create a rewarding experience for the mentors and mentees, but Simmons says the officers gain just as much from the experience.

“Having served as a SURF Board member for a few years, I have learned quite a lot about the “behind the scenes” operation of such a program the many tasks and people involved in successfully orchestrating an REU, or other event or program at the university,” Simmons says “I have definitely gained a greater appreciation of the broader preparation and project management support provided by administrative staff to make everything come together smoothly for the participants of the program.”

The officers’ hard work and planning has resulted in a successful program that has historically seen over 90 percent of participants continue to work with their assigned lab beyond the 10 week program.

Characterizing the migration and differentiation of Gli1+ neural stem cells in aged mice

Mentor: Elizabeth Clawson

Lab: Jayshree Samanta

Fellow: Cora Williams

The extremely high SURF fellow post summer retention rates, ie remaining with their assigned SURF labs and mentors and continuing on in research after the summer program has ended, speaks to the quality and impact of SURF,” Simmons says

He added that while a majority end up joining the research labs to which they were assigned, others learn valuable lessons about their area of interest “Others, through the program, have found they do not enjoy research, or no longer see it as a potential career goal, and elect to depart from their SURF labs, which I also see as a positive outcome for the program in helping young students to winnow down their multitude of potential opportunities/career directions through their time in school and find a career path that will be meaningful to them.”

Amaya Yanira Stanley, a 2022 SURF participant and biomedical engineering major, says the program confirmed her interest in research, while providing valuable lessons about the benefits and challenges of working in a lab.

“This program was my first research experience, so honestly, everything was beneficial for me and exceeded my expectations,” says Stanley

“With that being said, I would say I benefited the most from simply being around my (continued on page 13)

Genome Engineering & Characterization of CAR Modified Stem Cells

Mentor: Keerthana Shankar

Lab: Krishanu Saha

Fellow: Isabelle Zingler Hoslet


mentor during my time in the program. She explained all the parts of her project to me and was very transparent about what was occurring throughout my time in the lab. I really appreciated that.”

Stanley was paired with mentor Hope Holt, a member of Professor Eric Shusta’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering lab Together they conducted research on the project, Effect of Reelin on iPSC derived Endothelial like Cells

“The main technical things I learned from my time in this program were how to care for cells in ways such as feeding, splitting, and transfecting Also, I was able to learn a lot about western blotting,” Stanley says “Other things I got familiar with were how to manage different parts of an experiment and better understanding the pace of scientific research.”

In addition to the lab experience, SURF mentees also had the opportunity to present their research at the SCRMC Fall Conference on September 30, 2022. This helps mentees

to learn how to prepare a poster and give an oral presentation.

“I think SURF is important because it gives direct exposure to scientific research and the environment of it all,” Stanley says. “It’s an experience where you are really learning and growing everyday with the support of a mentor.”

Simmons agreed, noting that SURF goes beyond offering the typical benefits of an REU program

“The summation of numerous aspects of SURF the small cohort size, local nature of the program, the targeting of underclassmen with no prior stem cell research experience, dual selection process, for both mentors and fellows, and it’s being organized and run by graduate students and post docs have, in my opinion, led to its continued success and longevity; an opinion obviously shared by SCRMC leadership and several sponsors as evinced through their continued support.”

stem cell and regenerative

The 2022 awardees include:

The SCRMC Research Training Awards were established in 2008 to recognize and provide support for promising graduate students and postdoctoral fellows conducting medicine research at the University of Wisconsin Madison Postdoctoral winner Martha Echevarría Andino (left), who is working in the Wellik Lab with mentor Deneen Wellik (right) exploring the chromatin dynamic of Hox11 expressing stem/progenitor cells during osteogenic differentiation
Graduate winner Keerthana Shankar (right), who is working in the Saha Lab with mentor Kris Saha (left) exploring off the shelf cancer immunotherapy utilizing CRISPR engineered ESC derived CAR NK Cells Congratulations to the SCRMC 2022 Training Award Winners


Save the Date: April 19, 2023

Wisconsin Stem Cell Symposium

Join us for the 17th Wisconsin Stem Cell Symposium "Stem Cell Innovations in Building and Rebuilding the Nervous System" in Madison, Wis Co hosted by the SCRMC and the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTC Institute), this annual event highlights the latest advances in stem cell science and technology. This year, the symposium will focus on neural disease modeling and development. Please look for more information soon

Thank you to the more than 260 participants who joined us in 2022 for the 16th Wisconsin Stem Cell Symposium. The symposium focused on stem cell competition, which has important implications for healthy aging and disease states.

2022 Fall Conference and Job Fair

On September 30, more than 100 students and researchers gathered for the annual SCRMC Fall Conference and Job Fair The event included a blitz talk competition, a poster session, and a cool image competition as well as keynote talks from renowned researchers Ivan Maillard and Valentina Lo Sardo. This event, which is organized by SCRMC trainees, is an opportunity to network, present, and learn from top biomedical and biotechnology researchers. A special thank you to our sponsors who made this event possible!

the Date &
ThankyoutotheSCRMCtraineesMarthaL Echevarría Andino,KeerthanaShankar, ApoorvaRamamurthy(lefttoright)fortheir leadershipinplanningtheFallConference 14 JiaheJin(right)andSCRMCAssociate DirectorRandyAshtonduringtheFall Conferencepostersession Thank you to our sponsors! Fall Conference: Job Fair: A special thank you to our Job Fair co-sponsor:


New Department of Defense Grant to Study Fragile X Syndrome in Human Cells

A new study will characterize human stem cell models of fragile X syndrome (FXS) to better understand the mechanisms behind FXS symptoms and how those may inform the search for effective therapies. The study, which will be supported by a three million dollar U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) grant, will be led by Xinyu Zhao, a professor of neuroscience, and Anita Bhattacharyya, an assistant professor of cell and regenerative biology Both are also Waisman Center investigators and Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine members.

Team of SCRMC researchers awarded Research Forward grant

A team of Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC) researchers will investigate cell therapy as a treatment for brain disorders, injuries, and aging thanks to a Research Forward grant The team will include:


Krishanu Saha, associate professor of biomedical engineering and affiliate with the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery


Marina Emborg, professor of medical physics

Darcie Moore, assistant professor of neuroscience William Murphy, professor of biomedical engineering


Anita Bhattacharyya, assistant professor of cell and regenerative biology Christian Capitini, associate professor of pediatrics

Melissa Kinney, assistant professor of biomedical engineering

Sean Palecek, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering Melissa Skala, associate professor of biomedical engineering

PhotoCredit: WaismanCenter


Anjon Audhya receives Vilas Faculty Mid-Career Investigator Award

SCRMC member Anjon Audhya received a Vilas Faculty Mid Career Investigator Award in honor of his excellence in research and teaching

This award provides flexible research funding for three years during which time Audhya plans to investigate the utility of therapeutic intervention at different timepoints in neurodegenerative disease progression.

and Gene Therapy

Increasing place of care manufacturing and deployment of cell therapies is a core mission for Jacques Galipeau, MD, who was recently named president of the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (ISCT) In this new role, Galipeau plans to expand this mission to advance cell and gene therapies He is also the associate dean for Therapeutics Development at the School of Medicine & Public Health, director of the University of Wisconsin Program for Advanced Cell Therapy (PACT), Don and Marilyn Anderson Professor of Oncology, and a SCRMC

Jacques Galipeau named president of the International Society for Cell
PhotoCredit: SMPH
PhotoCredit: SMPH

News and Updates from

Friends of the SCRMC


During his sixteen years as the Managing Director of the Wisconsin Alumni Researc Foundation (WARF), Carl Gulbrandsen wa advocate for stem cell research. In particu he played a significant role in the formatio the WiCell Research Institute, a global lead the banking, testing, and distribution of st cell lines. Additionally, his efforts resulted i unprecedented technological innovation a doubling of the foundation’s investment portfolio to $2.6 billion.

The SCRMC thanks Carl for his contributio and offers our condolences to all who knew him.

After more than 30 years with the University of Wisconsin Madison and 15 years with the Morgridge Institute for Research, stem cell research pioneer James Thomson retired in July 2022.

mourns the death of Carl Gulbrandsen, former WARF Managing Director PhotoCredit:WARF
A science trailblazer retires: Stem cell researcher James Thomson’s legacy changed the future of biology

StemCellandRegenerative MedicineResearchEndowed Professorship

This fall, Timothy Kamp, MD, PhD, was named the first recipient of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research endowed professorship. This endowment was made possibly by philanthropic support from a consortium of donors who are passionate about stem cell and regenerative medicine research and the Morgridge Match, an initiative started by John and Tashia Morgridge.

This endowment will provide long term support for SCRMC leadership and aid in the center's mission to to advance the science of stem cell biology and foster breakthroughs in regenerative medicine.

Kamp, who serves as director of the SCRMC and as a professor of Medicine and Cell and Regenerative Biology, was honored during h D f M di i I i

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Tim Kamp MD, PhD, accepts the endowed Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research Professorship during the Department of Medicine 2022 Investiture Ceremony Credit: Department of Medicine Tim Kamp MD, PhD, (center) is joined by (left to right) Lynn Schnapp, Department of Medicine Chair, his wife Mary, and his son Michael during the Department of Medicine Investiture Ceremony Credit: Department of Medicine


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