UNC and Wake Forest host "The Nexus of Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine" symposium

On Feb. 7, the UNC School of Medicine Gene Therapy Center and the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine collaborated to host a joint symposium for the first time. Jude Samulski, PhD, professor of pharmacology and director of the UNC Gene Therapy Center and Anthony Atala, MD, chair of the Department of Urology and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine served as keynote speakers.

When conceiving the symposium, both Atala and Samulski saw significant opportunities for collaboration between the two research programs, with UNC faculty bringing expertise in efficient gene transfer, and Wake Forest faculty contributing in the area of organ regeneration, according to Tara Britt, Director of Research and Development at the Gene Therapy Center.

The hope going into the symposium was that UNC and Wake Forest faculty would learn in detail what various research groups are working on and would find ways to work together. As a result of the symposium, researchers from both institutions are already talking about ways to collaborate, and future meetings are being scheduled to discuss details, said Britt.

Ten speakers were invited to present their research on current trends and new concepts in regenerative medicine and gene therapy, including:

Anthony Atala, M.D. WFIRM, (Keynote), “Regenerative Medicine: Current Concepts and Changing Trends”

Paul Monahan, M.D., UNC Gene Therapy, “Gene therapy for treatment of hemophilias”

Christopher Porada, Ph.D., WFIRM, “Using stem cells to deliver FVIII in a new large animal model of hemophilia A”

Aravind Asokan, Ph.D., UNC Gene Therapy, “Re-engineering viruses for gene therapy”

John D. Jackson, Ph.D., “Engineering a thymus for induction of immune tolerance”

Bruce A. Sullenger, Ph.D., Duke University, “Driving Innovation with Forward and Reverse Translation of Antithrombotic Aptamers”

Shay Soker, Ph.D., WFIRM, “Creating a Functional Liver from a Decellularized Natural Scaffold”

Steve Gray, Ph.D., UNC Gene Therapy, “Developing Adeno-associated viral vectors for global central nervous system gene delivery”

George J. Christ, Ph.D., WFIRM, “Engineering muscle constructs for transplantation and repair”

Richard Jude Samulski, Ph.D. (Keynote), UNC Gene Therapy, “Gene Therapy and Clinical Success: The Past, Present, and Future”

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