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Differentiation of pluripotent embryonic stem cells with extracellular matrix laminins

Speaker: Professor Karl Tryggvason 

Karl Tryggvason, MD, PhD, a citizen of Iceland and Sweden, got his MD and PhD degrees from the University of Oulu, Finland. He is a specialist in Clinical Chemistry in Finland and Sweden. He spent four years as Research Associate at the NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 1978-1979 and Assoc Professor of Biochemistry and Clinical Pathology at Rutgers Medical School, New Jersey, USA, 1984-1986. He was Prof of Biochemistry for ten years at the University of Oulu, after which he moved in 1995 to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm as Professor of Medical Chemistry, where he is now Senior Professor. Since 2012, he has been Professor at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore and since 2016 Professor at Duke University, NC, USA.

His research concerns the molecular nature, biology and diseases of basement membranes (BM), a special compartment of the extracellular matrix. His group has cloned almost all human BM proteins and clarified the causes of many BM-associated diseases like Alport syndrome, congenital nephrotic syndrome, junctional epidermolysis bullosa and congenital muscular dystrophy, and studied matrix metalloproteinases, including the discovery and crystal structure of matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2).

Tryggvason has published over 400 research articles and book chapters. He is a member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences and the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, and has served as a member of the Nobel Assembly and Committee at the Karolinska Institute for 18 years. He has received international prizes like the American Society of Nephrology Homer Smith Award, the Louis-Jeantet and Anders Jahre Prizes in Medicine and Distinguished Scientist Award from the International Society of Matrix Biology. Tryggvason is a co-founder of BioLamina, Stockholm, that produces recombinant human laminins for cell biology and cell therapy research.

Tryggvason’s main current projects concern the production and characterization of recombinant human BM laminins and their role in stem cell culturing and differentiation. His group has developed fully human, chemically defined, reproducible methods for derivation and differentiation of pluripotent hES cells to cardiomyocytes, keratinocytes, photoreceptors and pancreatic islet cells that may pave the way for hESC-based therapies of related degenerative human diseases.

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