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Science and Society

EMBL Grenoble Science and Society symposium

Regenerating the Body: The Future of Medicine

25 October 2013, Chadwick Amphitheatre, Institute Laue Langevin, Grenoble


Programme

14:00 - 14:45 Regenerative medicine and the end of aging
Nadia Rosenthal, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash
14:45 - 15:30 Regenerative medicine and (im)mortality: from taboo to chatter
Alex Mauron, University of Geneva
15:30 - 15:35 Comfort break
15:35 - 16:30 Open panel discussion
after 16:30 Coffee break

Speakers

Nadia Rosenthal, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash

Regenerative medicine and the end of aging

Speakers

Abstract
What lies behind the remarkable potential of the human body to rebuild itself and why aren’t we better at it? Imaginations have been captivated by the prospect of stem cells in adult tissues, set aside earlier in the embryo, which might be coerced into regenerative service in later life, augmenting the body’s own regenerative capacity, which declines as we grow older. However the limited restorative capacity of some tissues has also been attributed to persistent inflammation with increasing age. Our approach has been to tinker with mechanisms at work in the mammalian response to damage, disease and ageing, compared to other highly regenerative animals. Our studies support the feasibility of intervening with our own incomplete response to injury or disease processes to reduce the impediments to effective regeneration. These results underscore how insights into basic mechanism are critical for recapturing regenerative capacity and providing new targets for clinical intervention.

Speakers

Biography
Nadia Rosenthal obtained her PhD in 1981 from Harvard Medical School where she directed a biomedical research laboratory, serving for a decade at the New England Journal of Medicine as editor of the Molecular Medicine series. She headed the EMBL Monterotondo campus from 2001 to 2012 and holds a Professorship of Cardiovascular Science at Imperial College London. She is an EMBO member, was awarded the Ferrari-Soave Prize in Cell Biology, and Doctors Honoris Causa from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris and the University of Amsterdam. She is currently Founding Director of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University and Scientific Head of EMBL Australia. Her internationally recognized research program focuses on the role of growth factors and stem cells in tissue regeneration. Professor Rosenthal is an NH&MRC Australia Fellow.

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Alex Mauron, University of Geneva

Regenerative medicine and (im)mortality: From taboo to chatter

Abstract
Over the past decade, the social conversations on regenerative medicine and stem cells have followed parallel tracks. Both evince a distinctive mix of moralistic taboos and catastrophic predictions on the one hand, naïve enthusiasm and florid utopian perspectives on the other.  Stem cell research was initially tainted by the fear of cloning and the moral condemnation of embryo research. Regenerative medicine was often rejected with arguments about the preservation of human nature, including the “natural” lifespan of humans. Today, more positive attitudes tend to prevail, however not without wishful thinking and false prophets.

Biography
Alex Mauron was initially trained as a molecular biologist at the University of Lausanne (PhD, 1978) and was a postdoctoral fellow in developmental biology at Stanford University. He moved to the field of bioethics during the late eighties. He is presently a full professor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, where he heads the Institute of Biomedical Ethics. He is currently working on various bioethical issues, including stem cell research and enhancement. He is a member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences.

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