The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Biology (DanStem) is an international research institute, at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences of the University of Copenhagen, solving complex problems in stem cell and developmental biology, spanning early embryonic development and organogenesis through advanced disease development and cell or drug-based therapies.
Through an increasingly quantitative approach with advanced imaging and single cell analyses, our researchers are teasing out the details of how specific cues transduce to gene regulatory events, such as modulation of epigenetic states or gene transcription, to control stem cell behavior. These studies allow us to unravel fundamental issues in the field and facilitate the translation of novel insights into medical practice.
With an initial overarching goal to raise the profile of stem cell research and technology and make Denmark a leading country in the pursuit of stem cell-based diabetes and cancer therapies, DanStem started its activities in 2011. The initial concept of the center was to provide a strong platform for utilizing pluripotent, somatic and cancer stem cells in synergistic efforts to understand development, homeostasis and disease in endocrine organs such as the pancreas, as well as cancer. The start-up phase resulted in a series of international group leader recruitments coupled with local, internationally recognized research groups.
In more recent years, the Center evolved to more broadly address fundamental questions in stem cell and developmental biology with an overall aim to contribute to the development of new therapies for cancer and chronic diseases such as diabetes, currently hosting two major, strategic translational research programs in diabetes and hematological cancers.
The approach of this documentary is to shadow the people who are conducting the research in their everyday work and to ‘open a window’ to the beauty of science.