UW News

April 22, 2004

Stem cell researcher to give Benditt Endowed Lecture

Dr. Catherine Verfaillie, director of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota, will present the Department of Pathology’s Eighth Annual Earl P. Benditt Endowed Lecture at 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 4, in Hogness Auditorium at the Health Sciences Center. Her presentation, “Greater Potency of Adult Stem Cells: Possible Mechanisms and Uses,” is free and open to everyone.

Verfaillie and colleagues in her laboratory are best known for their work in adult stem cell biology. They have identified a rare cell population in the bone marrow, termed the multipotent adult progenitor cell (MAPC), which can differentiate into many cell types in the body.

Distinct from blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells, MAPCs have been shown to give rise to cells associated with blood vessels (smooth muscle and endothelial cells), liver cells, various types of neurons, and multiple other cell types in the body. MAPCs are one of the most promising cell types available in the emerging field of regenerative biology.

In addition to stem cell biology, Verfaillie’s laboratory also studies the role of chromosomal translocations in causing leukemias and lymphomas. Verfaillie is currently one of the most influential investigators in biomedical science, and she also has a reputation for delivering lectures that are both scientifically rigorous and widely accessible to a general audience.

The lectureship is dedicated to the memory and scientific legacy of Dr. Earl P. Benditt, professor with the Department of Pathology from 1957-1996 and department chair from 1957-1981.