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May 18, 2006

Stem cell researcher to speak May 25

The UW’s newly formed Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine will hold its first public event next week when Dr. Peter Donovan, co-director of the Stem Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine, presents a seminar open to all.

Donovan will speak on Keeping Human Embryonic Stem Cells on the Right Track at 11 a.m., Thursday, May 25, in Turner Auditorium, room D-209, in the Health Sciences Building. Light refreshments will be served in the Health Sciences Lobby beginning at 10 a.m., before the seminar.

The speaker, who was named to the post at UC Irvine earlier this year, was educated in London, where he earned a Ph.D. in cell biology at University College and was then a postdoctoral research fellow at St. George’s Hospital Medical School’s Department of Anatomy. He came to the United States in 1988 and spent a decade in the Mammalian Genetics Laboratory of the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Research and Development Center in Frederick, Md.

He moved to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore in 2003, where he became a professor of gynecology and obstetrics and co-director of the Stem Cell Program in the Institute for Cell Engineering. At UC Irvine, he is also a professor of developmental and cell biology and of biological chemistry.

Donovan was among the first to find that embryonic-stage cells that later develop into adult reproductive tissue have the potential to differentiate into any type of cell in the body. His work now focuses on how stem cells maintain this ability to turn into various cell forms, and how that ability can be controlled.

He was recruited to UC Irvine as that university is seeking funds to construct a $60 million stem cell research facility, according to the news release from UC Irvine that announced his appointment.

At the UW, more than 70 researchers now have stem-cell related projects, in spite of a ban on federal funding for work outside a few cell lines. Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, as well as other research institutions in the area, are also part of the effort.

Dr. Randall Moon, professor of pharmacology and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is the director of the UW stem cell institute; Dr. Charles Murry, professor of pathology, and Dr. C. Anthony Blau, professor of medicine, are co-directors.

For more on the institute and the first seminar, see http://www.uwmedicine.org/Research/ResearchTrainingAndSeminars/ISCRM+seminar.