Seminar Series: The 2021 Revised ISSCR Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation with Robin Lovell-Badge
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In 2021, the International Society for Stem Cell Research updated its Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation in order to address some of the many advances in stem cell science and other relevant fields, together with the associated ethical, social, and policy issues that have arisen since the last update in 2016. These advances included human embryo culture, stem cell-based embryo-like models, chimeras, organoids, mitochondrial replacement, and human genome editing, and prospects for obtaining in vitro-derived gametes, amongst others. The updates also involved revisions to the processes of review and oversight for basic and translational research to make these more robust. Lovell-Badge will discuss these changes, which should allow the Guidelines to continue to serve as the standard for the field and as a resource for scientists, regulators, funders, physicians, and members of the public, including patients.
Robin Lovell-Badge is a senior group leader and head of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at the Francis Crick Institute. He obtained his PhD in embryology at University College London (UCL) in 1978. After postdoctoral research in the Genetics Department at the University of Cambridge and as an EMBO Long Term Fellow at the Institut Jacques Monod in Paris, Robin established his independent laboratory in 1982 at the Medical Research Council Mammalian Development Unit, UCL. In 1988 he moved to the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (which was incorporated into the Francis Crick Institute in 2016), becoming Head of Division in 1993.
It was in 1990, in collaboration with Peter Goodfellow’s lab, that Robin identified Sry/SRY as a new candidate for the testis determining gene in mice and humans. He went on to prove that Sry was the gene and the only one on the Y chromosome required to initiate testis rather than ovary differentiation. Subsequent work by Robin’s lab and others have identified and tested the function of many other relevant genes and established many of the genetic pathways involved in the initiation and maintenance of gonadal sex.
At the same time as finding Sry/SRY, Robin’s lab also discovered the first members of the Sox gene family. He went on to show the importance of Sox2 for pluripotency in the early embryo, and of several Sox genes for the development of the central nervous system, the pituitary, and for stem cells in these systems. In addition to being of fundamental interest, Robin’s work is of clinical relevance, providing better diagnosis and understanding of the etiology of disorders of sex differentiation and of disorders affecting the CNS and pituitary.
Robin was a Distinguished and is now a Special Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong (where he has also been a visiting professor since 1996); an Honorary Professor at UCL, (since 2003), and a Visiting Professor at King’s College London (since 2016). He is President of the Institute of Animal Technologists.