Stem Cells Australia 2014 Annual Report now available

21 April 2015
Find out more about our achievements
Members of the Stem Cells Australia consortium continue to make a substantial contribution to stem cell science. Click here to download our latest Annual Report.

During 2014 - the third year of our research program - we can look back on a series of impressive discoveries from our scientific teams that kept us at the forefront of international activity in the field.

Stem Cells Australia’s scientists, led by Christine Wells, played important roles in major international consortia including FANTOM, which utilised our stem cell and bioinformatics platforms to uncover striking new aspects of gene regulation in mammalian cells, and Project Grandiose, which provided the most detailed picture yet of the molecular milestones and timelines for cellular reprogramming to pluripotency. 

Melissa Little used reporter lines developed by the team of Andrew Elefanty and Ed Stanley to build for the first time the key components of the human embryonic kidney in a laboratory dish, a study that featured stunning images of cells undergoing self-assembly to form the elements of the nephron.

Bob Graham was part of an international group that made the remarkable discovery that adult cardiomyocytes can still divide in a narrow time window to produce new heart muscle.

In another surprising advance, Trevor Kilpatrick and Toby Merson showed that adult neural progenitors can actually contribute significantly to remyelination in the Central Nervous System after injury, a critical process for recovery in a number of disorders including multiple sclerosis. 

Stem Cells Australia’s postdoctoral student Kathryn Potts and team leader Samir Taoudi (joined by veterans Warren Alexander and Doug Hilton) uncovered a totally new pathway for generating platelets in the early embryo.

All of these outstanding works involved collaboration of SCA scientists with one another and/or with colleagues internationally, illustrating the importance of the network connections SCA has established.

Our scientists also received a number of awards and honors this year, including three ARC Future Fellowships (Mirella Dottori, Alice Pébay, and Robin Hobbs), NHMRC Fellowships (Ed Stanley and James Bourne), and a prestigious National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia Metcalf Award to Jose Polo. Our colleague Perry Bartlett was the recipient of the Australian Neuroscience Society Distinguished Achievement Award.

We continue to reach out to colleagues across the Australian stem cell science community. For the first time, our Annual Retreat was run in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research (ASSCR) and the Australian and New Zealand region of the International Society for Cellular Therapy. The joint meeting was highly successful, and ASSCR and SCA will come together again in 2015.

Megan Munsie has continued to lead our efforts to curb the expansion of clinics offering unproven stem cell treatments in Australia. The public campaign has been accelerated as the growth of these clinics continues unabated. Our efforts here are beginning to have real impact but the campaign to rectify this situation has only just begun.

We look forward to building on the excellent start we have made over the next four years of our operation. Please download our 2014 Annual Report for more information.