Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Progress Report: July 2018
blood stem cells
A layer of melanocytes protects zebrafish blood stem cells from sunlight, much like our bones protect blood stem cells in the marrow.
A recent study led by HSCI Principal Faculty member Leonard Zon showed that the location of blood stem cells in the body -- their niche -- evolved to protect them against sunlight.
  • What they observed: The zebrafish kidney, where its blood stem cells are located, is covered in a layer of pigmented cells called melanocytes.
  • What they found: The melanocytes protected the blood stem cells from UV radiation, a component of sunlight. This was true in fish species all across the evolutionary tree of life. In a species of frog, the blood stem cells were protected from UV light throughout development thanks to the tadpole's melanocyte-covered kidney and the adult's bones.
ISSCR president
Doug Melton, President of the International Society for Stem Cell Research
HSCI Co-Director Doug Melton assumed his role as the president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research in June. The society promotes learning and collaboration among stem cell scientists and physicians through a range of educational meetings and programs, with the goal of developing effective new medical treatments.
cell therapy updates
Cell therapy research at HSCI: updates
HSCI faculty members were featured at this year's Harvard Medical School Alumni Reunion symposium.
  • Their work showcased the breadth of research being conducted across the HSCI network, at both Harvard University and its affiliated hospitals.
_bioinspiration_ video
HSCI Principal Faculty member Jeff Karp draws inspiration from nature to develop technologies such as surgical adhesives. Watch this recent video, produced by Stat News, that highlights his bioengineering research.