Congratulations to Jen Yonan for being awarded an NIH pre-doctoral fellowship for her dissertation research on induction of growth of mature neurons due to PTEN deletion. Jen wrote the proposal in late 2019 and funding started in April 2020. This will cover her fellowship and provide some direct support for her research.
Readers of “Spinal Connections” know that the foundation for the Asterias trial was the paper in 2005 by Hans Keirstead at the RIRC (Keirstead, H.S., Bernal, G., Nistor, G., Totoiu, M., Cloutier, F., Sharp, K., and Steward O. Human stem cell derivatives remyelinate and restore locomotion after spinal injury. J. Neurosci., 25, 4694-4705).
After a lot of preclinical work, the clinical trial for oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) was launched by the com mpany “Geron” and was the ﬁrst ever trial for human stem cells for spinal cord injury. This trial was terminated for economic reasons and the company Geron folded but the company “Asterias” was founded and re-booted the trial with their product called “AST-OPC1”.
Jen also presented her work at the semi-annual Cold Spring Harbor Meeting on Synapses and Circuits in September.
At our annual "Grad Day" for the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology on December 2, Jen placed second in the competition for "best presentation". She also received an award for "best question" asked of another presenter. Way to go Jen!