StemCellShorts

17
Mar 2015
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Tricky science made simple, final chapter

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This week is Brain Awareness Week, a global initiative to raise awareness of the progress being made in brain research.…

This week is Brain Awareness Week, a global initiative to raise awareness of the progress being made in brain research.

To mark the occasion, we are unveiling a new video in our Stem Cell Shorts series that will come as good news to anyone who has ever struggled to understand the complexity of the human nervous system. It is a great resource for non-scientists to quickly grasp how the nervous system works and how stem cells can improve its functions.

“What is a neural stem cell?” is the final episode of the series launched in fall 2013 and produced by Ben Paylor, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Mike Long, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.

The last chapter is narrated by Dr. Sam Weiss, director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary and the scientist who discovered neural stem cells in 1992. His discovery led to an understanding of how stem cells stimulate neural development throughout our lives. Currently, Dr. Weiss is leading research in neural stem cell biology with the ultimate goal of advancing patient care, prevention, treatment and management of devastating conditions, such as brain tumours, stroke and multiple sclerosis.

The remarkable video animation project includes seven other subjects:

  • “What is a stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Jim Till;
  •  “What are embryonic stem cells?” narrated by Dr. Janet Rossant;
  • “What are induced pluripotent stem cells?” narrated by Dr. Mick Bhatia;
  • “What is stem cell tourism?” narrated by Prof. Timothy Caulfield;
  • “What is a cancer stem cell?” narrated by Dr. John Dick;
  • “What is a retinal stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Derek van der Kooy; and
  • :What is a hematopoietic stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Connie Eaves

The Foundation joined the Stem Cell Network in funding the production of the Phase 2 of the project, which included five animated installments.

We hope you enjoy the final chapter of the series. And for those who missed some earlier episodes, they are available here.

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13
Feb 2015
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Tricky science made simple, Valentine’s edition

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When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of hearts. And when we think of hearts, we think of their life-sustaining role of pumping blood.…

When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of hearts. And when we think of hearts, we think of their life-sustaining role of pumping blood. But where does that blood come from? How does it get made?

A great resource to find answers to those questions and understand the role of stem cells in blood formation is now available. “What is a hematopoietic stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Connie Eaves is the latest video in Stem Cell Shorts series that explains how hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) produce new blood cells.

Contained in the bone marrow, HSCs can produce new blood cells or regenerate the blood production system. In fact, bone marrow transplants have treated patients with a variety of blood cancers and disorders, including multiple myeloma, leukemia and lymphoma for decades.

Dr. Eaves, a professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia, is a leader in the field of hematopoietic stem cell biology. Her work has led to advances in treatment for leukemia. Currently, she is researching the unique properties of normal and cancerous stem cells in a variety of tissues to improve treatments for breast cancer and leukemia.

The new video, produced by Ben Paylor, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Mike Long, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, is co-sponsored by the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation and the Stem Cell Network.

All the videos — including “What is a stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Jim Till, “What are embryonic stem cells?” voiced by Dr. Janet Rossant, “What are induced pluripotent stem cells?” narrated by Dr. Mick Bhatia, “What is stem cell tourism?” voiced by Prof. Timothy Caulfield, “What is a cancer stem cell?” narrated by Dr. John Dick, “What is a retinal stem cell?” voiced by Dr. Derek van der Kooy and “What is a hematopoietic stem cell?”  – are now available on the Foundation’s You Tube channel. Click here to view them.

The final instalment of the series,“What is a neural stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Sam Weiss, will be released soon. Stay tuned!

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17
Nov 2014
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Tricky science made simple, part V

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Recently, we posted about the release of another StemCellShorts video: “What is a retinal stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Derek van der Kooy.…

Recently, we posted about the release of another StemCellShorts video: “What is a retinal stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Derek van der Kooy. Stem Cell Shorts is a series of short informative videos produced by Ben Paylor, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Mike Long, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.

Dr. van der Kooy, professor in the Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Toronto, who discovered retinal stem cells in 2000 narrates the video.

Dr. van der Kooy and his team have been able to transplant retinal stem cells into the eyes of visually impaired mice and have shown that the tissue regenerated to develop better sight in the animals. Dr. van der Kooy’s hope is to treat degenerative eye diseases such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa in the next ten years.

The new video is co-sponsored by the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation and the Stem Cell Network.

All the videos — including “What is a stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Jim Till, “What are embryonic stem cells?” voiced by Dr. Janet Rossant, “What are induced pluripotent stem cells?” narrated by Dr. Mick Bhatia, “What is stem cell tourism?” voiced by Prof. Timothy Caulfield, “What is a cancer stem cell?” narrated by Dr. John Dick and “What is a retinal stem cell?” – are now available on the Foundation’s You Tube channel. Click here to view them.

Two final instalments of the series, “What is a blood stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Connie Eaves and “What is a neural stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Sam Weiss are currently in production.

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24
Oct 2014
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Tricky science made simple, part IV

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Back in June, we announced the release of another StemCellShorts video: “What is a cancer stem cell?” narrated by Dr.

Back in June, we announced the release of another StemCellShorts video: “What is a cancer stem cell?” narrated by Dr. John Dick. Stem Cell Shorts is a series of about-a-minute-long informative videos produced by Ben Paylor, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Mike Long, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Dick, senior scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, was the first to isolate cancer stem cells — in leukemia in 1994 and in colon cancer in 2007. Recently, he and his team found a way to disarm a gene called BMI-1 that regulates colorectal cancer stem cells.

The new video is co-sponsored by the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation and the Stem Cell Network.

All the videos — including “What is a stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Jim Till, “What are embryonic stem cells?” voiced by Dr. Janet Rossant, “What are induced pluripotent stem cells?” narrated by Dr. Mick Bhatia, and “What is a cancer stem cell?” — are now available on the Foundation’s You Tube channel. Click here to view them.

Another instalment, “What is a retinal stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Derek van der Kooy, will be released soon.

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26
Jun 2014
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stemcelltourism stem cellshorts

Tricky science made simple, Part III

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Back in January, we blogged about the StemCellShorts videos, a series of about-a-minute-long informative videos produced by Ben Paylor, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, and Dr.

Back in January, we blogged about the StemCellShorts videos, a series of about-a-minute-long informative videos produced by Ben Paylor, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Mike Long, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.

A brand new video in the excellent series is now available. Narrated by Prof. Timothy Caulfield, a member of our Foundation’s Science Leadership Council, it answers the question “What is stem cell tourism?”

Stem cell tourism is one of the biggest challenges for stem cell community. While great advances have been made in bone marrow stem cell transplants and stem-cell driven skin grafts, most stem cell treatments are still in the research phase. However, the number of clinics offering unproven and unsafe therapies worldwide is growing. (Click here to read our blog entries about stem cell tourism.)

All the videos — including “What is a stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Jim Till, “What are embryonic stem cells?” voiced by Dr. Janet Rossant, and “What are induced pluripotent stem cells?” narrated by Dr. Mick Bathia —  are now available on the Foundation’s You Tube channel. Click here to view them.

Another instalment, covering the topic “What is a cancer stem cell?” and narrated by Dr. John Dick, will be launched later this year. This second set of videos is co-sponsored by the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation and the Stem Cell Network.

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09
Jan 2014
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Tricky science made simple, Part II

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Some time ago we wrote about a remarkable video animation project designed to make stem cells easier to understand for non-scientists.…

Some time ago we wrote about a remarkable video animation project designed to make stem cells easier to understand for non-scientists. While we told you about the first video from StemCellShorts, we forgot to follow up when two fresh instalments came online.

The two videos cover the topics: “What is an embryonic stem cell?” narrated by Dr. Janet Rossant, Chief of Research at The Hospital for Sick Children’s Research Institute, and “What is an induced pluripotent stem cell?” voiced by Dr. Mick Bhatia, Director of the  McMaster Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Research Institute. Click here to watch them.

The videos are part of StemCellShorts, a series of about-a-minute-long animated videos produced by Ben Paylor, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Mike Long, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.

And more are on the way. The Canadian Stem Cell Foundation has joined Stem Cell Network to fund the production of five more videos that will cover other such topics as stem cell tourism, blood stem cells, and neural stem cells — each narrated by a world-leading Canadian authority. They are to be unveiled in time for the Annual Meeting of International Society for Stem Cell Research in Vancouver on June 18-21, 2014.

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27
Sep 2013
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Stem Cell Animation 2

Take a minute to understand stem cells

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If you have struggled to understand what stem cells are all about, take comfort: you are not alone. I wrote the book on them and I can still stumble over concepts like self-renewal and differentiation and plasticity.…

If you have struggled to understand what stem cells are all about, take comfort: you are not alone. I wrote the book on them and I can still stumble over concepts like self-renewal and differentiation and plasticity.

Fortunately there is now an excellent resource to help those of us with less than keen scientific minds to quickly get the picture – quite literally.

Ben Paylor, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Mike Long, a post-doctoral fellow have produced StemCellShorts, three short animated videos that manage to explain tricky science concepts clearly without dumbing things down.

The series is being released this fall, with the “world screening premiere” during the Till & McCulloch Meetings (the annual gathering of Canada’s best and brightest stem cell scientists) in Banff Oct. 23-25. But you can  view the first in the series here. It answers the question, What is a stem cell?

Dr. James Till narrates the minute-long, action-packed piece and is the perfect person to do it.  In the early 1960s, he and his research partner Dr. Ernest McCulloch set out the core principles of stem cell science.

The other two videos in Phase 1 of the project include  ‘What is an embryonic stem cell?’ narrated by Dr. Janet Rossant, Chief of Research at SickKids Hospital, and ‘What is an induced pluripotent stem cell?’ voiced by Dr. Mick Bhatia, Director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute.

Production was funded through a Public Outreach Award provided by our sister organization, the Stem Cell Network. The Foundation is partnering with the Network on Phase 2, which will see five more animated shorts that should be ready by the spring.

In the meantime, enjoy the first instalment. A minute later, you’ll feel scientifically smarter.

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