The Future of Stem Cells

Laura Grabel, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science in Society, professor of biology, was a guest on WNPR’s The Colin McEnroe Show on the eve of Connecticut’s annual stem cell research conference, StemCONN, on April 3. Grabel said the Connecticut Stem Cell Initiative has made us “world leaders in the arena of stem cell research, someplace we really weren’t seven or eight years ago.” In addition to the basic stem cell research being done, there are a number of researchers working to make stem cells that will someday be useful in clinical applications. For example, at Wesleyan, Grabel and her colleagues have been working on models of temporal lobe epilepsy, in which there is a loss of a particular type of inhibitory cell in the brain. “Our goal is to learn how to make that inhibitory cell from embryonic stem cells, transplant those cells into mouse models of temporal lobe epilepsy, and see if the cells can become the right kind of neuron in the brain, and if they can serve the same function that those inhibitory neurons serve” in the brain.