Regenerative medicine scientist Willard H. Eyestone will talk about the global implications of stem cell research and stem cell projects under way at Virginia Tech during the 10th annual New Developments in Laboratory Technology event on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.

Presented by the Laboratory Employee Professional Development Network, more than 50 laboratory vendors will display and explain products. The event will open at 1 p.m. and the winner of the 2012 Staff Award for Outstanding Performance in Labs will be announced. Eyestone’s presentation is slated for 4 p.m.

A research associate professor of reproductive biology and biotechnology in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Eyestone studies mammalian developmental biology, animal cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer, genetic modification of animals, embryonic stem cell biology, and methods to reprogram cells for use in regenerative medicine.

"I think we are on the verge of stem cell therapies becoming broadly applied," said Eyestone, a former senior research scientist at PPL Therapeutics in Blacksburg before joining Virginia Tech in 2000. "Many treatments are in the pipeline from the research standpoint, and a tremendous amount of work is taking place in the stem cell regenerative medicine area for applications in humans and animals. We are fortunate at Virginia Tech to have strengths in biology, medicine, and engineering that are necessary to make stem cells work in the context of regenerative medicine."

Joining Eyestone for his presentation will be Dr. Linda Dahlgren, an associate professor of large animal surgery; Jia-Qiang He, an assistant professor of stem cell physiology; and Abby Whittington, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, and chemical engineering, .

Dahlgren studies how adult stem cells can be persuaded to function in tendon repair for horses — an effort that also has implications for human health. Jia-Qiang He investigates how to use stem cells to restore cardiac function and Whittington focuses on building tissue scaffolds from synthetic biomaterials for use is regenerative medicine. In many cases, regenerating tissues from stem cells requires "seeding" stem cells onto a scaffold that directs the formation of replacement tissues or even organs into the proper sizes and shapes.

Contact University Organizational and Professional Development at 540-231-6727 for required registration. The Laboratory Employee Professional Development Network at Virginia Tech was created in 2001 and consists of technical laboratory and research staff, as well as research faculty. 

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.


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