In honor of Earth Day (April 22 2021), the ISSCR has released its webinar series on global sustainability to the public. This four-part series will be available for viewing from April 19-23.

About the Program
This ISSCR Digital series explores the intersection of stem cell science and global sustainability issues. Animal agriculture, a main contributor to global deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, is estimated to be the second largest cause of human-made global warming. Global warming is one of the most significant threats to biodiversity on the planet. Stem cell research and its application has the potential to remediate these problems.

An unanticipated application of new discoveries in stem cell biology and in vitro tissue culture technologies is the development of animal meat products made in a laboratory incubator. Using either pluripotent (embryonic or induced pluripotent) or muscle stem cells, scientists are learning how to generate meat in a petri dish rather than extensive animal farming. While still in its nascency, the manufacturing of animal meat products in the lab may hold significant potential to reduce humanity’s reliance on climate-altering animal farming, enable cheaper access to protein sources, and curtail climate change fallout and climate change itself.

Yet another unforeseen application of stem cells is their potential use in the conservation of endangered species. From frozen zoos of endangered species (banks of frozen stem cells from multiple species) to reproduction-related technological advances, stem cell-related applications can be harnessed to help conserve biodiversity on Earth. Stem Cells and Global Sustainability brings together stem cell researchers with conservation biologists, global ecologists, and food industry innovators in an unforeseen meeting of fields that could have a significant impact on climate change and human health.

Environmental Sustainability and Stem Cells: Why Stem Cells?

The first program of the series will highlight the intersection between stem cell science and the global sustainability issues of species conservation and cell-based approaches to developing meat and fish products. What are some of the big issues that are driving the need for this approach and how can stem cells help?

Speakers:
Gerardo Ceballos Gonzalez, PhD, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico
David Welch, PhD, Synthesis Capital, USA
Steve Kattman, PhD, Sana Biotechnology, USA

Emerging Applications of Stem Cell Technology: Species Conservation

The number of endangered or extinct species is growing rapidly. What does it take to restore or sustain a population on the brink of extinction and can stem cell-based approaches play a role? If so, how? During the second program of the series, hear from conservation and stem cell experts as they discuss the latest species conservation efforts.

Speakers:
William Burnside, PhD, Nature Sustainability, USA
Katsuhiko Hayashi, PhD, Kyushu University, Japan
Jeanne Loring, PhD, Scripps Research, USA
Oliver Ryder, PhD, San Diego Zoo Global, USA
Takanori Takebe, MD, PhD, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, USA and Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Yokohama City University, Japan

Emerging Applications of Stem Cell Technology: Commercial Agriculture

The use and application of cell-based approaches for commercial agriculture requires expertise in cell culture, bioengineering, manufacturing and food sciences. The third program of the series will bring together experts in these fields to share insights in these processes and stimulate discussion.

Speakers:
David Mack, PhD, Institute for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington, USA
Shingo Kajimura, PhD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, USA
Shulamit Levenberg, PhD, Technion, Israel
Lauran Madden, PhD, BlueNalu, USA

Promise and Challenges of Stem Cells in Global Sustainability

The fourth and final program of the series will highlight the potential and the challenges of cell-based approaches to meat and fish alternatives from experts in the field and industry.

Speakers:
Mark Post, MD, PhD, Maastricht University and Mosa Meat, Netherlands
Shoji Takeuchi, PhD, University of Tokyo and Institute of Industrial Science, Japan
Anne Mullen, PhD, Nature Food, United Kingdom