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The Lookout | January 21, 2018

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Stem cell presentation piques interest

Stem cell presentation piques interest

Shelby Schueller
News Editor

LCC students, faculty and staff gathered Feb. 19 in the LCC library to discuss a highly controversial science topic: embryotic stem cell research.

The discussion, “A Conversation with Dr. Jose Cibelli,” was part of the “One Book #OneLCC” initiative and featured Dr. Jose Cibelli as guest speaker.

Cibelli said he thought the discussion went well.

“The questions (asked) made me feel very good because it means that they got it,” he said.

Cibelli has been internationally recognized in the stem cell research field since he began in 1996.

He has been published in numerous reputable scientific journals, and is an active member of several stem cell research ethics and standards committees.

Currently, Cibelli is also a professor of animal biotechnology at Michigan State University.

The presentation focused on three main topics: defining a stem cell, what has been done in the research field so far and what is next.

Cibelli taught the audience that stem cells are cells that are not cancerous but can divide indefinitely under the correct conditions.

These cells, depending on the type of culture they grow in, can turn into almost any type of tissue in the body.

They are most commonly found in embryos, fetuses, bone marrow, brain tissue and the spinal cord.

Cloning was another focus of the discussion. According to Cibelli, scientists have successfully cloned 22 different living species.

Some of these species were endangered. Some were extinct and brought back.

The discussion concluded with cloning pancreases in humans in an attempt to cure diabetes.

Cibelli told the audience the procedure has been successful in animals such as mice, but not yet tested in humans.

Victoria Meadows, library communications manager, said conversations about the ethics of medical research, informed consent and personal property connect the story of Henrietta Lacks and stem cell research.

“Discussions like this are important for raising awareness of and promoting critical thinking about issues that are difficult to understand and talk about,” she said.

Cibelli said he liked the atmosphere at LCC because the audience seemed less judgmental to the subject than others.

“I just think that there’s so much suffering that we could potentially solve … I try to emphasize that when I go to audiences that are opposed to it,” he said.

Cibelli also emphasized the importance of learning to communicate in college and advised students to always be skeptical of new discoveries.

For more information about the “One Book #OneLCC” initiative, visit www.lcc.edu/onebook, or contact Victoria Meadows at meadowv@lcc.edu.

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