Neural fate is determined by the complex interplay between genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, ruling the proper spatio-temporal expression of defined sets of genes. Neural stem cells undergo massive changes of their epigenetic landscape during differentiation, which are only partially unravelled. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying neural stem cells genomic and epigenomic plasiticity will give new insights about adult neurogenesis and neurodegeneration and will underpin new potential routes for cell-based therapies of neurodegenerative diseases.
Dr. Barbara Illi is a Staff Researcher at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, National Research Council (IBPM-CNR), in Rome, Italy. She received her BS degree in 1995 and a Postgraduate Major in Medical Genetics in 2008. From 2001 till 2009, at the Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata in Rome and at Centro Cardiologico Monzino in Milan, she worked on the epigenetic regulation of cardiovascular gene expression (Illi et al., Circ Res, 2003; Illi et al., Circ Res 2008; Spallotta et al. Stem Cell, 2010; Rosati et al., ATVB, 2012). In 2009, as a Research Coordinator at the CSS-Mendel Institute in Rome, she established a research group investigating the effect of ciliary proteins disruption on the differentiation properties of mouse embryonic stem cells and contributed to a number of papers in the field of Neurogenetics. In 2011 she joined IBPM-CNR. She's committed to gain a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms leading to a dysregulation of the cell epigenome in pathological conditions, such as cancer, as well as neurodegeneration.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate and rescue neural cells which provide a suitable environment for neuron regeneration, remyelination and cerebral blood flow improvement in providing neuroprotection. MSCs are immunomodulatory for treatment of immune mediated diseases which include anemia, Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis to develop effective therapies in immune mediated diseases.
Prof. Dimitrios Karussis, was born in Thessaloniki, Greece on 7-8-1962. He graduated from Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki, Medical school in 1986 with excellency. Since 1988 Prof. Karussis moved and lives in Jerusalem, Israel. He completed at Hadassah his Neurology specialization and his PhD degree. Since 2007 he is the Chairman of the MS Center at Hadassah and the MS/EAE neuroimmunology laboratory. Prof. Karussis has published more than 100 peer reviewed scientific papers, mostly in the field of neuroimmunology and stem cells. He has delivered more than 100 invited plenary lectures and served as chairman in tens of European and world congresses in the field of Neuroimmunology. He serves as ad-hoc reviewer and as member of the editorial board in many major journals. He has been for 6 years a member of the Executive Committee of the ECTRIMS. Prof. Karussis has pioneered the studies with Linomide and with bone marrow and mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in MS. He is considered one of the world experts in the field of clinical applications of stem cells in neurological diseases. Since 2010, Prof Karussis serves as the president of the Israeli Neuroimmunological society and has organized several international meetings in this field. He is going to host the International Neuroimmunological meeting in 2016 in Jerusalem.
Dr. Yuanyuan Zhang is a director of tissue therapy and assistant professor in the Wake Forest Institute for Regeneration Medicine (WFIRM) and department of urology at the University of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He received her M.D. from Jiangxi Medical Collage in China, earned his spot as attending doctor in department of urology at the First Affiliated Hospital in Nanchang University. After his twelve-year career as a urologist and renal transplant surgeon, Dr. Zhang decided to do biomedical research on stem cells and regeneration medicine when he went oversea. After obtaining PhD in University of Lausanne and completing postdoc training, he has been a faculty member at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a premier environment for research in cell therapy and tissue engineering in surgery. In addition, Dr. Zhang has trained the fellows from oversea in the field of stem cell, decellularized biomaterials, and regeneration medium. Dr. Yuanyuan Zhang has conducted research in stem cell, biomaterials, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine in surgery, particularly in andrology and urology for 22 years.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells increasingly used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.These MSCs are all known immune competent cells showing an antiproliferative or cell survival effect derived from MSCs. Understanding of the immunomodulatory properties of MSC provides insight to their potential immune mediated conditions, including graft versus host disease, multiple sclerosis, refractory systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic sclerosis and allow them to treat a large range of autoimmune diseases.
Prof. H.L. Trivedi, the Pioneer Nephrologist, Immunologist, Transplanter and Stem Cell Researcher of India is currently the first Pro-Chancellor of Gujarat University of Transplantation Sciences and Founding Director of Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre and Institute of Transplantation Sciences (ITS), Ahmedabad, India. They perform about 50 liver and 400 kidney transplants annually, 20% from deceased donors. He is a pioneer in treating autoimmune diseases like diabetes with insulin making stem cells and neuronal stem cells for neuronal disorders/ diseases. He has more than 1500 renal allograft recipients on No /minimum immunosuppression. He has used stem cells and T-regulatory cells for inducing tolerance in clinic and has about 165 publications related to tolerance and cell therapy. His profile of creativity ranges from Hamilton Organ Procurement Program (HOPE), Canada (1974), Indian Journal of Nephrology, Indian Society of Organ Transplantation and many others. He is the recipient of several honors including Padma Shri awarded by the Government of India in 2015.
Prof. Aruna Vanikar is the first qualified Renal and Transplant Pathologist of India. She is currently working with Prof. H.L.Trivedi, the founding Director of Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre and Institute of Transplantation Sciences (ITS), Ahmedabad, India. She is pioneer in stem cell research in India and her original work includes in vitro generation of adipose tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells, insulin making stem cells, neuronal stem cells, regulatory T/B cells and their application in clinic. This research has helped in minimization of immunosuppression in renal transplantation. She has established the role of T regulatory cells as novel biomarker for allograft function status.