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Helping the body heal itself: Regenerative medicine to be discussed at UH

HOUSTON, March 1, 2005 Professor Dame Julia Polak, a pioneer in stem cell research and regenerative medicine, will speak at the University of Houston at 4:15 p.m., Tuesday, March 8. The event is open to the public.

In a seminar on "Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine," Polak will discuss the promise this type of research holds to treat diseases that include diabetes, arthritis, coronary artery disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. In addition to providing hope for those afflicted with these types of ailments, tissue engineering is already helping athletes who suffer from various sports injuries.

Polak's visit is sponsored by the Texas/United Kingdom Collaborative Research Initiative, a program supported by the British government with the aim of stimulating interactions between researchers from participating Texas institutions and universities in the UK.

"The discovery that stem cells can be manipulated to form virtually any cell type or tissue is providing the basis for cell replacement and engineered tissues," Polak said. "These may ultimately play a large role in treating widespread and devastating diseases. Various types of stem cells are being investigated for their potential.to help the body heal itself."

Herself a recipient of a heart and lung transplant a decade ago, Polak will discuss how biology, materials science and biomedical engineering have come together in this new field directed toward long-term repair and replacement of failing human tissues and organs. One of the most highly cited researchers in the world, she is ranked in the top 10 of the World's Most Prolific Scientists. Joining Imperial College London in 1992, Polak is the director of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Centre based in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Polak's visit is co-hosted by the Houston chapter of Sigma Xi, the UH College of Pharmacy and the Department of Pharmacological & Pharmaceutic
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Contact: Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192
University of Houston
1-Mar-2005


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