Day 1 :
Western University of Health Sciences, USA
Keynote: Rapid generation of sub-type, region-specific neurons and neural networks from human pluripotent stem cells for neurological disorders
Time : 10:00-10:30 AM
Dr Yiling Hong is an Associate Professor at Western University of Health Sciences. Dr. Hong received her Ph. D degree from University of Kentucky in 1997. She had in depth training in molecular biology, and stem cell biology. As Principal Investigator of the National Institute of Health grant, her research interest is focus on stem cell differention and determination of cytotoxicity and genotoxocity of manufactured nanoparticle in stem cells. She had published over 40 papers.
Stem cell-based neuronal differentiation has provided a unique opportunity for regenerative medicine, disease modeling and drug discovery. Neurospheres are commonly used neuroprogenitors for neuronal differentiation, but their clumping in culture has always been a challenge for neurodifferentiation. Here, we report a novel defined culture conditions and method for generating sub-type or region-specific neurons from human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells without any genetic manipulation. Round and bright-edged neurospheres were generated in supplemented knockout serum replacement medium (SKSRM) under 10% CO2, which doubled the expression of NESTIN, PAX6 and FOXG1 genes compared to 5% CO2. Furthermore, an additional step (AdSTEP) was introduced to fragment the neurospheres and facilitate the formation of a monolayer neuroepithelial-type sheet and neural tube type rosette (NTTR) structure. The NTTR expressed higher level of PAX6, SOX2 and NESTIN genes compared to neuroectoderm-derived neuroprogenitors. Using these neuroprogenitors, different layers of cortical, pyramidal, GABAergic, glutamatergic, cholinergic neurons appeared within 27 days which is faster than traditional neurodifferentiation-protocols (42-60 days). With additional supplements, dopaminergic and purkinje neurons were also able to generate around 45 day too. Furthermore, our in vivo results indicated that fragmented neurospheres facilitated significantly better neurogenesis in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mouse brains compared to the non-fragmented neurospheres. Therefore, this neurosphere-based neurodifferentiation protocol is a valuable tool for studies of neurodifferentiation, neuronal transplantation and high throughput screening assays.
Zewail City of Science and Technology, Egypt
Keynote: Smart nano- and nano-in-microparticles carrier systems for controlled pulmonary drug delivery
Time : 10:30-11:00 AM
Prof El-Sherbiny has earned his PhD in Smart Drug Delivery in 2007 from Massey University, New Zealand. He joined the University of New Mexico as a post-doctoral fellow, then Texas University, USA as Research Assistant Professor. He is currently Professor of Nanomaterials and Director of the Center for Materials Science at Zewail City of Science and Technology. He has more than 50 papers in reputed journals, and same number in international conferences. He is the author of three books, twelve book chapters, and more than eight review articles. Besides, El-Sherbiny is a named inventor on more than fifteen patents.
A substantial body of research has focused recently onto pulmonary drug delivery as a well-accepted treatment for many lung diseases. This work was aiming to develop and evaluate (in-vitro and in-vivo) new series of carriers for controlled pulmonary drug delivery. The developed carriers combine the benefits of nanoparticles (NPs) and respirable/swellable microparticles while avoiding their shortcomings. The carriers are based on PEG-grafted-chitosan (PEG-g-CS) and crosslinked with sodium tripolyphosphate and/or sodium hyaluronate in form of hydrogel NPs. Drug-loaded hydrogel NPs were then used to develop respirable/swellable 2-5 microns size microparticles (MPs) through controlled spray drying of an aqueous suspension of the NPs and lactose as excipient. Particle size was determined by laser diffraction and DLS. Surface morphology was investigated by AFM and SEM. In-vitro aerosolization was performed using a next generation impactor. Dynamic swelling, in-vitro biodegradation, particle density and moisture contents were also determined. In-vitro release profile of the loaded drug was investigated in simulated body fluids. In-vivo investigation of the drug was also performed using insufflation method. The average sizes of the PEG-g-CS NPs and MPs were found to be 83.2±2.4 nm and 4.1±0.03 μm, respectively. The NPs-MPs carriers showed high swelling within few minutes, low aerodynamic density (0.2±0.03 g/cc), moisture content of 4.1-9.0%, good in-vitro biodegradation, high drug loading capacity exceeding 93%, and a promising sustained drug release both in-vitro and in-vivo. In conclusion, the newly developed NPs-MPs systems are very promising and could be utilized as potential carriers for sustained delivery of various drugs to the lung.
National University of Singapore, Singapore
Keynote: Targeted inhibition of transcription factor STAT3 for the prevention and treatment of cancer
Time : 11:20-11:50 AM
After completion of his postdoctoral training at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Prof. Gautam Sethi joined Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore in 2008 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2015. The focus of his research over the past few years has been to elucidate the mechanism(s) of activation of oncogenic transcription factors such as NF KB/STAT3 by carcinogens and inflammatory agents and the identification of novel inhibitors of these proteins for prevention of and therapy for cancer. From traditional Chinese and Indian medicinal plants, his group has identified numerous small molecules that can suppress various pro-tumorigenic signaling cascades involved in cancer initiation and promotion. The novel findings of his research work have so far resulted in more than one fifty scientific publications in high impact factor peer reviewed journals and several international awards. He currently serves as an Academic Editor for prestigious PLOS One journal and ad-hoc reviewer for several other international journals.
STATs comprise a family of cytoplasmic transcription factors that transmit signals, mediate intracellular signaling usually generated at cell surface receptors and transmitted to the nucleus. Numerous studies have demonstrated constitutive activation of STAT3 in a wide variety of human tumors, including blood malignancies (leukemias, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma) as well as solid tissues (such as head and neck, breast, lung, gastric, hepatocellular and prostate cancers). There is a strong evidence to suggest that aberrant STAT3 signaling promotes development and progression of human cancers by either inhibiting apoptosis or inducing cell proliferation, angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis. However, the development of novel drugs for the targeting STAT3 that is both safe and efficacious remains an important scientific and clinical challenge. We will present the data that shows that novel small molecule inhibitors of STAT3/JAK2 pathway can suppress the expression of genes involved in cancer initiation, and promotion both in vitro and in vivo.