Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

Participating Faculties: Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry (host), Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Science

Project Leaders: David Hess, Cheryle Seguin, Dean Betts

Total Project Funding:  $301,000

Funding Period: 3 years


The human body possesses tremendous capacity to heal itself. Central to all regenerative processes are stem cells; rare cells found within every organ in our body with the capacity to replace damaged cells or to send signals that promote tissue repair. Stem cells can be considered “conductors of the orchestra” that co-ordinate the myriad of cells and signals involved in the regenerative response. However, after acute events such as heart attack or stroke, the severity of injury can overwhelm the regenerative response; or during chronic diseases such as diabetes or arthritis, relentless damage exhausts the stem cell pool, leading to progressive disability and huge burden on our health care system. The mission of this IDI is to lead interdisciplinary research, education, and community outreach iniatives towards a unified vision focused on harnessing the potential of stem cells for regenerative medicine applications.

The IDI in Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine will: 1) Establish self-sustaining, interdisciplinary research initiatives guiding discoveries toward clinical therapies; 2) Launch unique workshop programs for high school, undergraduate, graduate students and postdoctoral trainees partnered with Let’s Talk Science and the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine; 3) Expand the breadth of our outreach and education efforts to engage the broader community in the excitement of stem cell research and discuss ethical issues surrounding regenerative medicine. To support these initiatives we have assembled a critical mass of dedicated researchers with expertise ranging from the legal and ethical aspects of stem cell research, to fundamental stem cell biology and biomaterial engineering, to clinical translation and intervention, who will collaborate towards implementation of regeneration strategies. This IDI will permit our team to solve complex problems by fostering meaningful interdisciplinary collaborations. Working as a team with a unified vision, we have the potential to achieve international prominence in the development of regenerative therapies.