Science meets art in stem cell exhibition

Monday, 26 June 2006

Science meets art in a photographic exhibition at the University of Adelaide that features stunning images of cells which may hold the key to damaged tissue and organ regeneration.

'Stem Cells: a biological repair kit' is a national touring exhibition which includes images produced by researchers in the University of Adelaide's Embryonic Stem Cell Laboratory, part of the Australian Stem Cell Centre (ASCC). The images on display are the best entries in a photography competition that was open to all stem cell scientists across the nation.

The exhibition, believed to be a world-first, is a public education initiative of the ASCC that aims to raise awareness and inform the community about research in this exciting field.

Professor Vicki Sara, Chair of the ASCC Board, said the touring exhibition would highlight the extraordinary work underway in Australian institutions and universities to unlock the potential of stem cell science and regenerative medicine.

"Stem cells could be described as a biological repair kit, with scientists around the world investigating the potential of both adult and embryonic stem cells to repair or replenish diseased or damaged tissues and organs," Professor Sara said.

University of Adelaide's Dr Rebecca Keough said: "Embryonic stem cells have amazing potential - they can form any of the cell types that are found in the body. The University's Embryonic Stem Cell Laboratory, headed by Professor Peter Rathjen, in the School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, is focussed on trying to understand how this is possible. Ultimately, we want to be able to direct stem cells to form specific, therapeutically important cell types such as heart muscle, blood and neurons. Our work is based on our discovery some years ago that, using embryonic stem cells, we could generate a related population that is a much better starting point for producing these useful cell types." Dr Keough is Assistant Director of the Embryonic Stem Cell Laboratory.

The four University of Adelaide researchers whose work is included in the exhibition are: Dr Tetyana Shandala, Ms Jennifer Washington, Dr Svetlana Vassilieva and Dr Aaron Robinson.

The free exhibition is open to the public until 16 July in the Barr Smith Library, University of Adelaide, during normal Library opening hours.

Notes to Editors:

The Australian Stem Cell Centre
The Australian Stem Cell Centre is Australia's Biotechnology Centre of Excellence. The Centre has partnered with nine leading Australian universities and research institutions and brings together a critical mass of outstanding Australian stem cell research that is internationally competitive and recognised. The Centre's principal objective is to integrate a national multi-institutional research and discovery program to develop treatments for serious disease through the application of stem cells and related technologies. The Australian Stem Cell Centre is funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments.

Stem Cells
Stem cells are considered master or primitive cells. At the stage of an early embryo, stem cells begin the process of tissue and organ development. These cells hold the blueprint to create any type of tissue or structure in the body. They can theoretically divide without limit to replenish damaged or diseased cells. Scientists around the world and in Australia are investigating the potential of both adult and embryonic stem cells to repair or replenish diseased or damaged tissues and organs.


Contact Details

Dr Rebecca Keough
Research Fellow
School of Molecular and Biomedical Science
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4623

Michelle Singe
Director Public Affairs
Australian Stem Cell Centre
Business: (03) 9271 1115 / 9271 1100
Mobile: 0423 056 952

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814