The Burian-McNabb Lecture: 50 Years of Stem Cell Experiments and Models of Development
50 Years of Stem Cell Experiments and Models of Development, Melinda Bonnie Fagan, Sterling McMurrin, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Utah
I survey a half-century of experiments on stem cells, focusing on three exemplary experimental systems: the spleen colony-forming assay (1960s), human embryonic stem cell culture (1990s), and direct cell reprogramming (2000s). Each of these experimental systems, I propose, is associated with a distinctive approach to modeling biological development; cell populations, ramifying lineages, and engineered networks, respectively. I characterize and contrast these three approaches, focusing on how the cell-organism relation is conceptualized in each, and how the associated experimental methods shape these ideas. I suggest ways stem cell research might proceed in future, and connections with synthetic biology and precision medicine.