Inducible and deterministic forward programming of human pluripotent stem cells into somatic cell types. The stem cell promice fulfilled? by Mark Kotter
Summary: The discovery of human stem cells has fueled hopes and expectation of using human cells for drug discovery, research and cell therapy. However, during the past two decades,
technical challenges have limited a broad adoption of human stem cells. Many conventional differentiation protocols are challenging, lack consistency, and are not scalable.
Direct cell reprogramming is a novel synthetic biology paradigm that is revolutionising our understanding of cellular identity. An ever-increasing number of protocols mediating
transitions between cellular states challenge traditional concepts of cell types. Reprogramming was thought to be restricted to and predetermined by conducive metastable states of cells. Our recent work challenges these preconceptions. By overcoming gene silencing phenomena in human pluripotent stem cells, it is possible to deterministically reprogram human iPSCs into different human cell types within time scales of less than a week. Large scale ‘omics studies provide a detailed insight into the molecular processes that govern these rapid and efficient cellular transitions. In conclusion, cellular reprogramming overcomes known bottlenecks of stem cell research and has the potential of providing reliable cells for research and large-scale applications.
Mark Kotter is professor at the Cambridge University, UK
Dr Kotter is an academic neurosurgeon at the University of Cambridge specialising in spinal surgery. He graduated with distinction from the University of Graz, and obtained MPhil/PhD degrees studying neural regeneration at the University of Cambridge in the laboratory of Prof. Robin Franklin. He underwent neurosurgery training at the Medical University Vienna and the University of Cambridge and sub specialist training in complex spinal surgery with Prof. Michael Fehlings, University of Toronto. His research focus is regenerative medicine and spinal cord injury. A particular interest is degenerative cervical myelopathy, the most common form of spinal cord dysfunction of adulthood. As the lead for academic spine, Dr Kotter is tasked with building a translational research program for spinal pathologies in Cambridge. Supported by a Clinician Scientist Award from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and in collaboration with www.myelopathy.org and MediciNova, his team translates findings made in his basic science lab into the first regenerative medicine trial for cervical myelopathy (RECEDE Myelopathy). Dr Kotter leads a basic science research lab investigating mechanisms of regeneration of the Central Nervous System and cellular reprogramming.