GPMLS & BMC Seminar Tuesday 6th September at 12:00 in room 201 Læknagarður
Speaker: Dr. Heinz Arnheiter, Scientist emeritus, NINDS Faculty, NIH (Bethesda, MD, USA).
Titile: Retinal Pigment Epithelium - Development and Generation from iPS Cells
Abstact: Adult onset macular degeneration is a degenerative eye disease that is primarily due to a localized degeneration of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells and that might potentially benefit from RPE-replacement therapies. Theoretically, induced pluripotent stem (iPS)cells capable of differentiating into RPE cells may serve as a convenient source for RPE cells. It is still a challenge, however, to derive pure populations of authentic, functionally competent RPE cells from iPS cells. Technical improvements come from the application of knowledge derived from the study of embryonic RPE development. In my talk I will present our studies on the role of signaling pathways and transcription factors during mouse RPE development and report on how the gained insights have eventually helped my former postdoc Kapil Bharti to obtain large numbers of iPS-derived, functional RPE cells now in use in small and large animal models of AMD in preparation for clinical Phase I studies.
Bio: Heinz Arnheiter is scientist emeritus at the National Institutes of Health in the USA and the editor of the journal Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research. He is a Swiss national and holds an MD from the University of Zürich. He first worked as a research fellow at the Institute for Immunology and Virology in Zürich and in 1981 moved to the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at the National Institure of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), NIH. There, he was first a Research Fellow, then a Fogerty International Fellow, and in 1988 became Chief of the Viral Pathogenesis and in 1995 of the Mammalian Development section. In the early stages of his carreer he studied the relationship between host genes and viruses but then, upon a chance observation, his research changed from innate immunity to development. He is widely known as the “inventor” of MITF in the mouse. He will give lunch seminars on several topics that interest him (but where he is not an expert). He will also talk to students and postdocs about issues related to carreer development.