Interstellar Initiative

Interstellar Initiative

Friday, March 17, 2017 - Sunday, March 19, 2017

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

 

The Interstellar Initiative — presented jointly by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development and the New York Academy of Sciences — will recognize the world's most promising Early Career Investigators in the fields of cancer, regenerative medicine, and neuroscience. Individuals accepted into the Interstellar Initiative will participate in a three-day conference at the New York Academy of Sciences from March 17–19, 2017, where they will be grouped within teams of three and asked to propose a solution to a major research question, guided by mentors who are at the peak of their respective disciplines.

Early Career Investigators will be expected to present the solutions developed within their teams at the conference. Top teams will be recognized with an award at the close of the event. All teams will receive funding to further enhance these proposals, leading up to a second workshop, on August 1–2, 2017. Proposals will be further refined at this August workshop and prepared for submission to international funding agencies.

This is a remarkable opportunity for Early Career Investigators to: (i) receive expert guidance from leading senior scientists on the preparation of a compelling research proposal; (ii) network with exceptional researchers from around the world; and (iii) build international research collaborations.

The application period for the "Interstellar Initiative" workshop has ended.

Important Dates

March 17–19, 2017: "Interstellar Initiative" conference convenes in New York City.

August 1–2, 2017: Follow up workshop convenes in New York City.

Questions

For more information, please email Dr. Alison Carley at acarley@nyas.org.

Presented by

The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development

Preliminary Agenda

* Topics and times are subject to change.


Day 1: Friday, March 17, 2017

8:30 AM

Registration and Breakfast

9:15 AM

Opening Remarks
Ellis Rubinstein, President and Chief Executive Officer, the New York Academy of Sciences
Aikichi Iwamoto, MD, DMSci, Science & Technology Advisor, Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)

9:45 AM

Keynote Address 1 (Cancer)
Noriyuki Kasahara, MD, PhD, University of Miami

10:30 AM

Morning Networking Break

11:00 AM

Keynote Address 2 (Regenerative Medicine)
Todd Evans, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College

11:45 AM

Keynote Address 3 (Neuroscience)
Takao Hensch, PhD, Harvard University

12:30 PM

Networking Luncheon

2:00 PM

Breakout Groups
Mentors and Early Career Investigators in cancer, regenerative medicine, and neuroscience will convene by discipline in three separate rooms. Mentors will provide an overview summary of the goals and convey the research question(s) to be solved.

2:45 PM

Mentors divide the Early Career Investigators into pre-decided teams and provide instructions on the research question(s) to be solved, share parameters for the research plans to be devised by each team, explain considerations for the presentations that the teams will be giving to all conference attendees on Day 3, and answer questions.

3:45 PM

Afternoon Networking Break

4:15 PM

Launchpad Overview
A representative from the New York Academy of Sciences will provide a demonstration of the Launchpad software, to be used to facilitate communication between teams between the March and August workshops.

4:45 PM

Breakout Groups
Early Career Investigators divide into their teams, become acquainted with one another and work in their teams to create a research proposal and formulate their Day 3 presentations.

5:45 PM

Closing Remarks

6:00 PM

Evening Welcome Cocktail and Hors D'oeuvres Networking Reception

7:30 PM

Day 1 Ends

Day 2: Saturday, March 18, 2017

9:00 AM

Breakfast

9:30 AM

Breakout Groups
Breakout groups reconvene. Early career investigators work in their teams to create a research proposal and formulate their Day 3 presentations.

10:30 AM

Morning Networking Break

11:00 AM

Breakout Groups
Continued. Early career investigators work in their teams to create a research proposal and formulate their Day 3 presentations.

12:30 PM

Networking Luncheon

2:00 PM

Breakout Groups
Continued. Early career investigators continue to work in their teams to create a research proposal and formulate their Day 3 presentations.

3:45 PM

Afternoon Networking Break

4:15 PM

Breakout Groups
Continued. Early career investigators continue to work in their teams to create a research proposal and formulate their Day 3 presentations.

5:00 PM

Panel Discussion
Early career investigators will have the opportunity from the beginning of the workshop to submit questions for a panel discussion of mentors, to solicit their career development and scientific guidance.

Moderator: Melanie Brickman Borchard, PhD, MSc, The New York Academy of Sciences
Panelists: György Buzsáki, MD, PhD, New York University
Aikichi Iwamoto, MD, Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development
Hisataka Kobayashi, MD, PhD, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
Mahendra S. Rao, PhD, MBBS, New York Stem Cell Foundation
Masao Saito, PhD, Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development

5:45 PM

AMED discussion on Early Career Investigator Funding
Representatives from AMED will meet with all Early Career Investigators to discuss funding to be awarded to all teams at the conclusion of the workshop, including restrictions and reporting guidelines.

6:15 PM

Closing Remarks

6:30 PM

Day 2 Ends

Day 3: Sunday, March 19, 2017

8:30 AM

Breakfast

9:00 AM

Early Career Investigator Groups Prepare for Presentations

9:30 AM

Early Career Investigator Presentations
Mentors and Early Career Investigators in cancer, regenerative medicine, and neuroscience will convene by discipline in three separate rooms. Each team of Early Career Investigators will provide a presentation of their research proposals, as prepared on Day 2. Mentors will provide feedback.

10:30 AM

Morning Networking Break

11:00 AM

Early Career Investigator Presentations
Continued. Each team of Early Career Investigators will provide a presentation of their research proposals, as prepared on Day 2. Mentors will provide feedback.

12:00 PM

Networking Luncheon

1:30 PM

Early Career Investigator Presentations
Continued. Each team of Early Career Investigators will provide a presentation of their research proposals, as prepared on Day 2. Mentors will provide feedback.

2:30 PM

Afternoon Networking Break
Mentors will convene during the break to select proposals for special awards.

3:00 PM

Award Announcements
Mentors will announce which teams have been selected for special awards, and provide feedback regarding why these groups were chosen.

3:30 PM

Top Early Career Investigator Presentations
The top teams from Cancer, Neuroscience, and Regenerative Medicine will present to all workshop participants.

4:30 PM

August Workshop
Representatives from the New York Academy of Sciences will explain what is expected of Early Career Investigators between the March and August workshops, and what to expect from the August 1–2, 2017, workshop.

4:45 PM

Closing Remarks
Makoto Suematsu, President, The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)
Ellis Rubinstein, President and Chief Executive Officer, the New York Academy of Sciences

5:00 PM

Day 3 Ends

Mentors

Cancer

Mary Helen Barcellos-Hoff, PhD

University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Barcellos-Hoff received an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and earned a doctoral degree in experimental pathology from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She conducted postdoctoral research on extracellular matrix mediated functional differentiation at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), which she joined as a staff scientist and rose to Senior Scientist and Associate Director of the Life Sciences Division before joining the the Department of Radiation Oncology of New York University School of Medicine in 2008. In 2015, she joined UCSF as Professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Radiation Oncology. The Barcellos-Hoff laboratory studies breast cancer, mammary biology radiation carcinogenesis, and mechanisms to biologically augment radiotherapy. We are also interested in the application of systems biology approaches to problems in radiation research.

Timothy Bestor, PhD

Columbia University in the City of New York

My laboratory has been dedicated to the discovery of the mechanisms that establish, maintain, and interpret genomic methylation patterns in mammals. We purified, characterized and cloned the first eukaryotic DNA methyltransferase (DNMT1), showed (in collaboration with R. Jaenisch) that DNMT1 is essential for cell survival and for the monoallelic expression of imprinted genes in mice. We also discovered that DNA methylation is essential for transposon silencing in mammals. We discovered the first human genetic disorder (ICF syndrome) that is caused by mutations in a DNA methyltransferase gene. We identified the first factor (DNMT3L) that regulates DNA methylation in germ cells and showed that histone modifications direct DNMT3L during de novo DNA methylation in mammalian oocytes and prospermatogonia; we also found (in collaboration with G. Hannon) that argonaute proteins and piRNAs are required for de novo methylation in male germ cells. We also found that mammalian stem and progenitor cells are unstable in terms of chromosomal abnormalities and in randomization of genomic methylation patterns, with rapid demethylation seen specifically in female stem cells. We published the first human whole-genome methylation profile at single CpG resolution. We also discovered that the protein formerly known as DNMT2 is actually the first mammalian RNA cytosine-5 methyltransferase to be identified; it was previously reported by others to be a DNA methyltransferase. We continue to pursue the mechanisms by which genomic methylation patterns are established and maintained, and the mechanism by which promoter methylation represses transcription. These mechanisms are of increasing significance because errors in DNA methylation can introduce genotype-independent phenotypic variation that are very likely to underlie part of the missing heritability problem in human genetics.

Noriyuki Kasahara, MD, PhD

University of Miami

Dr. Noriyuki Kasahara graduated in 1986 from Tokyo Medical & Dental University, and completed residency and Board certification in Laboratory Medicine / Clinical Pathology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he also obtained his Ph.D. in 1994 from the Interdepartmental Program in Endocrinology. After starting his faculty career at the University of Southern California (USC), he moved to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he was tenured Professor of Medicine and Molecular & Medical Pharmacology, and Director of the UCLA Vector Core facility for over a decade. In 2014, he was recruited to the University of Miami as Professor of Cell Biology and Pathology, and Co-Leader of Viral Oncology. Dr. Kasahara has published over 130 peer-reviewed research articles and is an inventor on 9 issued patents. He is a Past-President of the International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy of Cancer, currently serves on the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy’s Scientific Committee on Cancer Gene & Cell Therapy, and on the Board of Directors for the Japan Society of Gene & Cell Therapy. His research focuses on genetic engineering strategies applied to cancer, transplantation, and regenerative medicine. In particular, a tumor-selective retroviral replicating vector (RRV) that he developed for suicide gene therapy and immunotherapy of cancer is currently being evaluated in first-in-human clinical trials for recurrent high-grade glioma.

Hisataka Kobayashi, MD, PhD

National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Hisataka Kobayashi is the Chief Scientist (Senior Investigator) of the Molecular Imaging Program at the National Cancer Institute, NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, with over 30 years’ experience in research and development of bio-medical imaging and drug delivery; especially targeting cancer for diagnosis and therapy. Dr. Kobayashi holds an MD in Radiology, and a PhD in Immunology/Internal Medicine both from Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan; has written or contributed to >300 articles, >50 invited reviews and book chapters; and gave >280 invited lectures and talks in the basic and clinical bio-imaging fields. Dr. Kobayashi served as an editorial board member of 7 scientific journals including Bioconjugate Chemistry, and as a program committee member of many scientific society meetings such as SPIE, ACS, WMIS, and AACR.

https://ccr.cancer.gov/Molecular-Imaging-Program/hisataka-kobayashi

Neuroscience

György Buzsáki, MD, PhD

New York University

György Buzsáki is the Biggs Professor of Neuroscience at New York University. His primary interests are mechanisms of memory, sleep and associated diseases. His main focus is “neural syntax”, i.e., how segmentation of neural information is organized by the numerous brain rhythms to support cognitive functions. He pioneered the experimental exploration of how coordinated, rhythmic neuronal activity serves physiological functions in the cerebral cortex. His most influential work, the two-stage model of memory trace consolidation, demonstrates how the neocortex-mediated information during learning transiently modifies hippocampal networks, followed by reactivation and consolidation of these memory traces during sharp wave-ripple patterns of sleep. Buzsáki is among the top 1% most-cited neuroscientists; a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Academiae Europaeae; an honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; and he sits on the editorial boards of several leading neuroscience journals, including Science and Neuron. He received an honoris causa at the Université Aix-Marseille, France and the University of Kaposvar, Hungary. He is a co-recipient of the 2011 Brain Prize.

(Book: G. Buzsáki, Rhythms of the Brain, Oxford University Press, 2006)

Takao Hensch, PhD

Harvard University

Takao K. Hensch, PhD, is a joint Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School at Boston Children’s Hospital, and of Molecular Cellular Biology at Harvard’s Center for Brain Science. After undergraduate studies at Harvard, he trained at the University of Tokyo (MPH) and the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research (Fulbright Fellow), before earning a PhD in Neuroscience (1996) at the University of California, San Francisco. He then helped to launch the RIKEN Brain Science Institute as lab head for Neuronal Circuit Development, and served as Group Director (and now special advisor) before returning to the United States in 2006. Hensch has received several honors including the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award both in Japan (2001 Tsukahara Prize) and the United States (2005); an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (2007); and most recently the Mortimer D. Sackler Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Developmental Psychobiology (2017). Hensch has served on the editorial board of various journals, including Frontiers in Neural Circuits (Chief editor), Journal of Neuroscience (Reviewing editor), Neural Development, and Neuron. He is a core member of the US National Scientific Council and the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, as well as faculty affiliate of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. He currently directs the NIMH Silvio O. Conte Center for Basic Mental Health Research at Harvard.

Akira Sawa, MD, PhD

Johns Hopkins University

Akira Sawa, MD, PhD is the S&R Innovation Endowed Chair and the Director of the Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center. Dr. Sawa is also a Professor of Psychiatry, Mental Health, Neuroscience, and Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health. After initial clinical training in psychiatry (residency and fellowship) at the University of Tokyo Hospital, he also completed research training of molecular neuroscience under Sol Snyder at Johns Hopkins. Since he became a faculty member in psychiatry, his major focus in both clinical and research activities is on adult onset psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and mood disorders. Since 2011, Dr. Sawa serves as the Director of the Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center where he aims for a constructive integration of patient care, research, professional education, and public reach. Dr. Sawa is a fellow and member of several academic societies, including American Psychiatric Association (APA), American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), and Society for Neuroscience (SFN).

Koko Ishizuka, MD, PhD

Johns Hopkins University

I received my MD and PhD in neuropsychiatry from Kumamoto University, and worked as a psychiatrist at Kumamoto University Hospital. Then, I had further training of basic/translational neuroscience as a fellow at Laboratory for Alzheimer's Disease in RIKEN, and the Department of Psychiatry in Johns Hopkins University. I am currently conducting research at the interface of clinical psychiatry and basic neuroscience as an Assistant Professor of the Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Regenerative Medicine

Todd Evans, PhD

Weill Cornell Medical College

Todd Evans graduated with a BA from Northwestern University in 1982, and earned his doctoral degree in molecular biology at Columbia University in 1987; followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He was recruited to Weill Cornell in 2009 and is currently the Peter I Pressman MD Professor of Surgery, Vice Chair for Research, and Chief of the Division of Research in the Department of Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is also the co-Director of the Ansary Stem Cell Institute and founded the Weill Cornell Program in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine in Surgery, which has recruited top researchers in stem cell and cancer biology, forging collaborative working groups to build translational research programs, and aiming ultimately to impact how we treat human disease. A recipient of a Searle Scholar Award, the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, an Irma T. Hirschl Career Scientist Award, and prestigious NIH MERIT and Outstanding Investigator awards, the research focus of his laboratory is on organogenesis and regeneration; targeting disorders including leukemia, heart disease, and degenerative disorders of the liver and pancreas; and is funded by the NIH, New York State, and several foundations. Dr. Evans has been honored with multiple teaching awards and he has trained dozens of students and fellows.

Mahendra S. Rao, PhD, MBBS

New York Stem Cell Foundation

Mahendra Rao received his MD (MBBS) from Bombay University in India and his PhD in Developmental Neurobiology from the California Institute of Technology. He is internationally known for his research involving induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), and other somatic stem cells; and has worked in the stem cell field for more than twenty years with stints in academia, government and regulatory affairs, and industry. Dr. Rao has an extensive background teaching medical and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows at institutions including Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India, and the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Rao has published more than 350 papers on stem cell research and is the co-founder of a neural stem cell company Q therapeutics based in Salt lake City (Utah), and, more recently, NxCell based in California. Dr. Rao has also served on advisory panels to the governments of the U.S., Singapore and India on hESC and iPSC policy.

Until 2010 Dr. Rao led the Stem Cell and Regnerative Medicine division at LiFE Technologies and also served as the Chair of the CBER (FDA) advisory committee (CTGTAC). Dr. Rao was the founding Director of the NIH Center of Regenerative Medicine, and also the Chief of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology at the NIH until 2014.

Dr. Rao is currently the CEO at Neuro-Q, a subsidiary of Q therapeutics, and serves as a consultant on Regenerative Medicine for the New York Stem Cell Foundation, and several companies in the regenerative medicine field. Dr. Rao also serves on several scientific advisory boards, journal editorial boards and oversight committees and advisory panels for large-scale projects related to stem cell biology. His clients include several stem cell and regenerative medicine companies such Stempeutics, Eyestsem, CESCA, CBR/AMAG and Megakaryon. He also contributes his expertise on regulatory affairs by serving on regulatory forums, and as the CIRM and ISSCR liaison to the ISCT.

Dr. Rao was recently named one of the top ten influential people in the stem cell field, was honored by the Federation of Biologists (FABA) India for his achievements in the stem cell field, and awarded the NBRI Medal (India) for his contributions to neuroscience research.

Toshio Suda, MD, PhD

Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI), National University of Singapore (NUS) and International Research Center for Medical Sciences (IRCMS), Kumamoto University.

Dr. Suda became Professor in 1992 at the Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics, Kumamoto University and at The Sakaguchi Laboratory, Keio University in 2002. In 2014, he began to serve as Director at IRCMS, Kumamoto University. Dr. Suda’s research interest is in stem cell biology, especially in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and haematological malignancies. HSCs give rise to stem cells (self-renewal) and progenitor cells (differentiation). The fate of HSCs is determined both by the cell autonomous programs and by the surrounding microenvironment, or niche. Dr. Suda’s previous work encompasses the study of the intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of stem cells (paired daughter cell experiments) and identification of HSC niche signaling such as Ang1/Tie2. After moving to CSI, NUS since 2014 as a Senior Principal Investigator, he has been exploring the new horizons in the field of oxidative stress and stem cell metabolism.

Yashuhiko Tabata, PhD, DMedSci, DPharm

Kyoto University

Dr. Yasuhiko Tabata is the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biomaterials at the Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, Kyoto University and serves as adjunctive professor at 14 different universities. He received his B.D. (1981) in Polymer Chemistry, Ph.D. (1988) in Technology, D.Med.Sc. (2002), and D.Pharm. (2003) all at Kyoto University. He received the Young Investigator Award (1990), the Scientific Award from the Japanese Society for Biomaterials (2002), the Scientific Award from the Japan Society of Drug Delivery System (2011), the Scientific Award from the Japanese Society for Regenerative Medicine (2014), Merit Award Winners for Industry-Academia-Government Collaboration, President of Science Council of Japan Award (2016), and several additional awards. He has published 1,280 scientific papers, including 120 book chapters and review articles, and has 130 patents. Dr. Tabata is the Board member of 5 Japanese Academic Societies and an associate member of the Science Council of Japan, Cabinet Office; a fellow of the New York Academy of Science and American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering; the Founding Fellow for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine; and the Editorial member of 7 scientific journals. His research interests include biomaterials, drug delivery system (DDS), tissue engineering, stem cell technology, and medical diagnostics.