Director’s Blog

Making new cells by direct cell conversion rather than from stem cells;

The regenerative medicine field has been fueled for years on the idea that we can generate new types of cells, as needed for biomedical purposes, from stem cells. Yet recent advances in being able to convert one adult type of cell into another are leading to new ideas about regeneration in the future. The review below describes the latest in the emerging field of “direct cell conversion.”

A Simpler Twist of Fate, Michael Eisenstein. Nature, June 2016.

View article here. 

Confronting the stem cell hype;

Stem cells and regenerative medicine promises to provide remarkable cures for disease, birth defects, injuries, and more. Yet there is much hype from researchers and purported “stem cell clinics” around the world. The brief review below summarizes how the ISSCR and others are trying to confront the hype in the field, so that the genuine advances can be made clear.

Confronting stem cell hype, Timothy Caulfield, Douglas Sipp, Charles E. Murry, George Q. Daley, Jonathan Kimmelman. Science, May 2016.

View article here

Global standards for stem cell research;

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), of which I am a member, recently published guidelines for regulation of stem cell research and clinical studies.  The review below summarizes the 27 page document from the ISSCR, which was created with experts from science, ethics, and medicine.

Global standards for stem-cell research, Jonathan Kimmelman. Nature, May 2016.

View article here

On the origin of embryonic stem cells;

This brief review describes the discovery of mouse embryonic stem cells, thirty-five years ago, and the subsequent discovery of human embryonic stem cells, as well as alternative approaches via induced pluripotent stem cells. The impact on understanding human development is made clear.

In retrospect: Thirty-five years of endless cell potential, M. Azim Surani. Nature, July 2016.

View article here



Welcome to our new and improved website for the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania!

Our Institute was founded 6 years ago, and in the time since becoming Director, Nancy Speck as Associate Director, and Ed Morrisey as Scientific Director, we have re-vamped our Programs, provided new means of research support and collaboration, and expanded public outreach. One of our priorities is to make others aware of the incredible work being done on Penn’s campus. To this end, we have recruited Abby Behrends as our Communications Coordinator to faciliate outreach efforts between our facility and the lay public.

The mission of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine is to understand how cells and tissues are formed and how they can be generated anew, and then use this information to promote human health and alleviate pain and suffering. Our Institute is distinct from most others across the globe by encompassing Medicine, Engineering, Basic Sciences, and Veterinary Sciences. We have diverse initiatives to support collaborative research across these disciplines, to support trainees in the area of stem cells and clinical applications, and to recruit outstanding individuals. Our Programs include neurobiology, cancer stem cells, skin stem cells, cardiology, orthopedics, liver and digestive, and more.

Enjoy our new site filled with news stories, upcoming events, and information on groundbreaking discoveries in each of our Programs.

— Ken Zaret, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Regenerative Medicine