Stem cell scientists receive international recognition

Last week, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) honoured the recipients of its 2017 awards at their annual meeting held in Boston. Dr. Elaine Fuchs received the McEwen Award for Innovation. Her research has transformed understanding of skin stem cells and their application to regenerative medicine, genetic syndromes and cancers.

The McEwen Award for Innovation in Stem Cell Research was established by the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and is presented by the Centre’s Co-Founders Rob and Cheryl McEwen. The award recognizes original thinking and ground-breaking research pertaining to stem cells or regenerative medicine that opens new avenues of exploration towards the understanding or treatment of human disease or affliction.

Dr. Fuchs has developed many innovative approaches to analyze skin stem cells and their niches, and to dissect the complex controls that orchestrate how stem cells make and repair tissues and what goes awry in genetic conditions and malignancies. In addition to the recognition that comes with the Award, Dr. Fuchs receives a prize of $100,000 USD to advance her research.

“Fuchs has made extraordinary contributions to skin stem cell research throughout her career,” said ISSCR President Sally Temple. “Her work continues to provide new and important insights into all facets of skin and stem cell biology, and the advances she has made extend to the broader scientific and medical community,” she said.

Also at the ceremony, Dr. John Dick, senior scientist at the McEwen Centre, was awarded the ISSCR Tobias Award Lecture. Established in 2016, this Award recognizes original and promising basic hematology research and direct translational or clinical research related to cell therapy in hematological disorders. The winner presents the Tobias Lecture at the ISSCR Annual Meeting.

Dr. Dick has been a leader in the areas of normal stem cell and cancer stem cell biology over the last 30 years, and his discoveries have led to significant advances in cancer biology that have opened new areas of inquiry.

“Dr. Dick has had a tremendous impact on the field of cancer research,” said Temple. “Through his intellectual leadership, his high standard of scientific inquiry, and creative insight, he has generated discoveries and approaches that have forever changed the way that researchers approach the development of cancer treatments.”