NSC-Reconstruct Scientific and Ethical Advisory Board

NSC-Reconstruct has established an international Scientific and Ethical Advisory Panel (SEAB) to provide high level multidisciplinary advice and monitoring of the project. The SEAB will provide advice and guidance on the translational and ethical aspects of the project. The following distinguished experts have made themselves available to serve on this panel.

Prof. Inez De Beaufort (Professor Medical Ethics at Erasmus Medical Center of Rotterdam, NL)  is professor of Health Care Ethics at the Erasmus Medical Center of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She studied Theology at the University of Utrecht, where she specialised in ethics, and also worked as a senior researcher at the Maastricht Institute for Bioethics. She has published books and articles on beauty and ethics, decisions on the end of life, personal responsibility in health and obesity, and other subjects. These include several works dealing with issues related with ethics and health, notable amongst which are Obesity (Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics, 2010) and Ethics and appearance (Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics (forthcoming)). She is, inter alia, a member of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, an honorary member of the Dutch Health Council, and a member of the Euthanasia Review Committee

Prof. Michele De Luca (Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, IT) has dedicated most of his scientific activities to translational medicine. He is recognised as leading scientist in human squamous epithelial stem cell biology aimed at the development of epithelial stem cell-mediated cell therapy and gene therapy. Following on early work on the use of human epidermal stem cell cultures in life-saving treatment of massive full-thickness burns and in repigmentation of stable vitiligo and piebaldism by keratinocyte/melanocyte co-colture, Michele De Luca and his historic collaborator Graziella Pellegrini, were first to establish human urethral stem cell culture aimed at urethral regeneration in posterior hypospadias. They then developed human limbal stem cell culture for corneal regeneration in patients with severe limbal stem cell deficiency. This treatment leads to recovery of normal vision and is now used worldwide. In February 2015 such cultures were formally approved as an Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product by EMA, which registered them under the name of Holoclar. Holoclar is the first stem cell-based therapy approved in Europe and EMA has indicated it amongst the most relevant achievements in the field in the last 20 years.

Prof. Andrea Grignolio Corsini (Professor in History of Medicine and Bioethics, Medical Humanities at Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan and Member of CNR Research Ethics and Bioethics Committee) focuses his research on XIX-XX cent medical history, especially on immunology. In 2004 he studied at the Centre Cavaillès, École Norm Sup of Paris, in 2005-6 was Post-doc Fellow at Center for Phil. & Hist. of Science, Boston Univ, in 2009 Visiting Scholar at the Office for Hist. of Sci. & Tech., UC Berkeley, and Le Studium Res. Fellow (2015-17) at Univ. F. Rabelais Tours (Fr). He is Professor on contract in History of Medicine and Bioethics at Vita-Salute S. Raffaele Univ., Milan, and Research Associate at ITB-CNR. He is author of "Are They Worth a Shot?, Springer 2018; and together with Cattaneo E., De Falco J., “Ogni giorno. Tra scienza e politica”, Mondadori 2016; and with Beccaria G., “Scienza&Democrazia”, La Stampa 2014.

Dr. Lorenz Studer (Developmental biologist at Sloan-Kettering Institute, U.S.A.)laboratory aims at exploiting recent advances in stem cell biology to develop radically new therapies for degenerative disease and cancer. We work with both embryonic and adult stem cell types in the lab. However, the main current focus is on the biology and use of human embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells may provide a truly unlimited source for deriving therapeutically relevant cell types. In the mouse, studies have demonstrated that embryonic stem cells can give rise to virtually any cell type present in the adult organism.

Prof. Leslie Thompson (Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior at University of California, Irvine, U.S.A.) Discoveries in human genetics have allowed investigators to make significant progress in understanding the underlying cellular mechanisms that are disrupted by these mutations and to develop rational therapeutics. The research in the Thompson lab has largely focused on understanding pathogenic mechanisms for neurodegenerative disease and FGFR3-associated cancers in order to identify and validate novel therapeutic targets for treatment of these diseases. Together with Dr. Joan Steffan at UCI, Thompson is also focusing upon the role of post-translational modifications of the Htt protein in cellular localization, transcription and protein clearance. Genetic and pharmacologic approaches to develop therapeutics are active areas of research using each of these systems. However, since molecular commonalities such as defective signal transduction, aggregation and altered transcription have emerged for diseases that involve aberrant protein folding such as Alzheimer’s disease, these efforts have applications to a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases.