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DanStem Newsletter December 2015

The Novo Nordisk Foundation enables the development of new research lines at DanStem

DanStem receives the donation based on an application for New Strategic Funding of the Novo Nordisk section of Basic Stem Cell Biology. 

To promote Copenhagen as an international beacon of research within biomedicine and biotechnology, The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded an additional grant of DKK 235 million (€31.4 million) to DanStem to develop the activities of the center, especially in the fields of cancer stem cells and bioengineering.

“This grant will enable us to continue to position the center internationally as a leader in basic and translational stem cell research in the diabetes and cancer areas,” says Professor Henrik Semb, Executive Director of DanStem. Read more HERE

From left: Henrik Semb, Elke Ober, Joshua Brickman, Elisabetta Ferretti, Kristian Helin, Ole William Petersen, Palle Serup and Bo Porse, (Anne Grapin-Botton is missing)

Grand opening of the core zebrafish facility

The new zebrafish facility at The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences was launched on September 10, 2015. Using zebrafish will open up new experimental possibilities for investigating key questions of basic and biomedical sciences.

Zebrafish are transparent allowing the direct observation of embryonic development and human disease processes such as infections, different types of cancer, Alzheimer or muscular dystrophy.

Additionally, they are suitable for large-scale chemical screening: for toxicity and whether already existing drugs can be used against other diseases than initially intended. In contrast to humans they have a unique capability for tissue regeneration, which promises to help understanding why such repair mechanisms do not occur in the majority of vertebrates.

Associate Professor Elke Ober heads the zebrafish research at DanStem  

Joint Lund-Copenhagen Stem Cell Center Symposium

The Lund Stem Cell Center and DanStem held a Stem Cell Symposium for all group leaders at the respective Centers on August 24, 2015 at Lund University.

The organizers Joan Yuan (LSCC) and Palle Serup (DanStem) put together a programme with scientific presentations and networking opportunities.

The aim was to foster a collaborative local environment to increase scientific exchange, productivity and visibility of Stem Cell Biology. The event is planned to be repeated in Copenhagen in 2016.

Copenhagen Stem Cell, Development & Differentiation Club

The Stem Cell Club had its third meeting on October 19, 2015. 
The Stem Cell Club is organized by DanStem professors Joshua Brickman and Betta Ferretti. Each meeting of the Club features three speakers and is followed by refreshments and an opportunity to discuss the topics of the evening. The next stem cell club meeting will be held on January 19, 2016, at Panum Faculty Club, and will be a joint meeting with the Chromosome Biology Club

New Funding

Postdoctoral Fellow Robert Bone from DanStem, The Brickman group recieved DKK 2,107,103 from the Danish Council for Independent Research for his project: Investigating the Role of Lipid Metabolism in Early Embryonic Development. He joined Joshua Brickman’s laboratory at DanStem in 2014 and is carrying out his research project in collaboration with the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Metabolic Research.

DanStem has received a Lundbeck Foundation grant to cover all costs of organizing dissemination and outreach activities in the coming three years. This initiative was managed by Assistant Professor Mette Jørgensen and Research Coordinator Simone Wenkel, you can read more about it HERE.   

Laura Martin Coll from the Grapin-Botton group received a Novo Scholarship Grant from Novo Nordisk to do her Master's thesis at DanStem.

Sara Caviglia from the Ober group will receive an ‘Early Postdoc.Mobility’ Fellowship from the Swiss National Research Foundation.

Florian Malte Hermann from the Semb group has received a third PhD scholarship from the Danish Diabetes Academy 

Porse group (2015). The multifaceted functions of C/EBP[alpha] in normal and malignant hematopoiesis. Leukemia,doi:10.1038/leu.2015.324.

Helin group (2015). SWI/SNF Subunits SMARCA4, SMARCD2 and DPF2 Collaborate in MLL-Rearranged Leukaemia Maintenance.Plos One, 10(11), e0142806, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0142806.

Grapin-Botton group (2015). Longitudinal three-dimensional visualisation of autoimmune diabetes by functional optical coherence imaging. Diabetologia, 1-10, doi:10.1007/s00125-015-3819-x.

Helin group (2015). H3K23me2 is a new heterochromatic mark in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nucleic Acids Res, doi:10.1093/nar/gkv1063.

Ole William Petersen group (2015). Propagation of oestrogen receptor-positive and oestrogen-responsive normal human breast cells in culture. Nature Communications, 6, doi:10.1038/ncomms9786.

Helin group (2015). Tumor suppressor ASXL1 is essential for the activation of INK4B expression in response to oncogene activity and anti-proliferative signals. Cell Res, doi:10.1038/cr.2015.121.

Kassem group (2015). Association between in vivo bone formation and ex vivo migratory capacity of human bone marrow stromal cells. Stem Cell Res Ther, 6196, doi:10.1186/s13287-015-0188-9.

Serup group (2015). A Gene Regulatory Network Cooperatively Controlled by Pdx1 and Sox9 Governs Lineage Allocation of Foregut Progenitor Cells. Cell Reports, doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.08.082.

Porse group (2015). ERG promotes the maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells by restricting their differentiation. Genes & Development, 29(18), 1915-1929, doi:10.1101/gad.268409.115.

Brickman group (2015). LIF supports primitive endoderm expansion during pre-implantation development. Development, doi:10.1242/dev.125021.

Porse group (2015). Disease evolution and outcomes in familial AML with germline CEBPA mutations. Blood, 126(10), 1214-1223, doi:10.1182/blood-2015-05-647172.

Kassem  group (2015). CDH1 and IL1-beta expression dictates FAK and MAPKK-dependent cross-talk between cancer cells and human mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cell Res Ther, 6(1), 135, doi:10.1186/s13287-015-0123-0.

Kassem group (2015). Inhibiting actin depolymerization enhances osteoblast differentiation and bone formation in human stromal stem cells. Stem Cell Res, 15(2), 281-289, doi:10.1016/j.scr.2015.06.009.

Grapin-Botton group (2015). REST represses a subset of the pancreatic endocrine differentiation program. Developmental Biology, doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2015.07.002. (epub ahead of print).

DanStem PhD Course 2015 on Signalling in Embryonic Development and Stem Cells

DanStem offers an annual PhD course, organized together with The Danish Research Programme on Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, (MoMeD). This year we offered a combination of a practical/theoretical course, with hands on experience. The course was organized by Professor Palle Serup and Associate Professor Elke Ober from DanStem. Three international guest speakers were invited and gave double lectures each, where all at the faculty were invited. 12 students have participated in the course. 

Copenhagen Bioscience PhD programme

The Copenhagen Bioscience PhD programme is a new initiative that offers talented students with a university degree from outside of Denmark an opportunity to launch their careers in the vibrant environment of the Novo Nordisk Foundation research centre cluster. Four PhD students will join DanStem annually, starting 2016. To read more about this initiative, please follow this LINK

Interview with DanStem Executive Director, Professor Henrik Semb

In an interview with the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Henrik Semb tells about the center's role as a part of the Faculty, the synergy with other departments and the open door policy of DanStem.  

You can view the video via this LINK

Stem Cell Research – the big challenge

Assistant Professor Mette Jørgensen from DanStem organized a dissemination event in Odense at a school for social and health care assistants. At the event ”Stamcelleforskning – den store udfordring” (Stem Cell Research – the big challenge) she gave the students and their teachers an introduction to stem cells and ethical challenges, and lead an interactive Q&A session. The lively discussion raised different points and gave the participants a basic knowledge of stem cells which they will hopefully be able to use in the future when they face questions in their interaction with patients. 

Sund Campaign : Sundere SUND kampagnen

DanStem Professor Joshua Brickman took part in the faculty's latest campaign on the topic: How to make the Faculty of Health Healthier. All the videos of the campaign are published on Instagram, where you can find the video of Joshua, among all other videos of the faculty

Interview with DanStem Professor Kristian Helin

Kristian Helin's team at the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC) discovered a new family of proteins with 'enzymatic functions'. The discovery was published in Nature describing their potential to revert the specific modifications on the so-called 'histones' that DNA is wrapped around. The modifications of histones provide an important regulatory mechanism for controlling cell proliferation, and changes in some of the modifications can lead to cancer. You can read the interview HERE

Public Health Students visit DanStem

On November 20, 2015, DanStem was visited by a group of masters students in Public Health. The students and their teacher, Associate Professor Aaro Tuppasela, came to DanStem to learn more about stem cell research. They had the opportunity to take a tour of our state of the art laboratories and to get a glimpse of and discuss ongoing research through short project presentations by three PhD students. 1

Ca-Op, Career and funding opportunities for young scientists


Since late spring 2015, DanStem postdocs and third year PhD students have the possibility to participate in the events of the ‘Ca-Op’- program. The monthly seminar series features a variety of events with internal and external speakers that give the participants opportunities to network and advance their knowledge regarding different aspects of their career. The career orientation series is co-organizing with the Department for Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Biomedical Department at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Please contact DanStem Research Coordinator Simone Wenkel if you want to know more about the programme.

Hosting a Gymnasium Student

On November 12-13, 2015, Professor Anne Grapin-Botton hosted a third year high school student from Silkeborg Gymnasium. The student joined Anne's lab, observed an experiment and discussed about how to write his SRP final project on the topic of stem cells.

DanStem New Head of Administration

Welcome to Thomas Bjørn Poulsen, DanStem's new Head of Administration. Thomas has started his job on November 1st, 2015. 


Season’s greetings and best wishes for the new year! 




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Sendt d. 11 December 2015