Dr Sanjay Kumar, MD, PhD has been named the winner of the Young Investigator Award by the journal STEM CELLS for leading research into the microenvironmental regulation of neural stem cells. The $10,000 prize is awarded annually to a young scientist whose paper has been judged to be of worldwide significance by a global jury.
"One of the most exciting recent developments in stem cell biology is the recognition that self-renewal and differentiation can be controlled by biophysical cues encoded in the cellular microenvironment," said Dr Kumar, from the University of California, Berkeley. "However, this potentially powerful handle for controlling stem cell behavior in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine systems, has been hampered by uncertainty over several open questions."
The award winning paper addresses those question by exploring adult hippocampal neural stem cells, which play key roles in learning, memory and are disrupted by several neurodegenerative diseases. The findings offer new insights into our understanding of microenvironmental regulation of neural stem cell behavior.
The award will be announced officially at the World Stem Cell Summit, which will be held at West Palm Beach, Florida, between 3 and 5 December.
"The Young Investigator Award seeks to recognize the groundbreaking work of the new generation of scientists advancing stem cell research", said STEM CELLS editor Dr Jan A. Nolta, PhD. "New discoveries, such as Dr Kumar's into the fundamental questions surrounding microenvironmental regulation, lay a theoretical groundwork which will have a vital impact on many kinds of malignant or degenerative disorders."