Building Skoltech News

May 26-28
Kick-off Symposium Biomed Cluster Skoltech
On May 26-28, 2014 the Skolkovo Center for Stem Cell Research and the Skolkovo Center for Functional Genomics held their kick-off symposium “Towards Therapies of the Future” at the Hypercube at Skolkovo, Moscow. The MIT team that plays an important role in the development of Skoltech assisted in the set-up of the meeting and also participated directly.
Nobel Laureates Shinya Yamanaka and Phil Sharp gave keynote lectures on the 26th. Their lectures were very well received. They were preceded by a panel discussion on “The Future of Biomedical Research in the Russian Federation” in which also representatives of the Russian Government and the Skolkovo Foundation participated.
During the following two days members of the two Biomedical Centers gave talks on their work and provided their vision on future research directions. Representatives of the Biotech Industry in Russia were also attending and presented their activities on the second day.
The meeting was very well attended with over 300 participants and received ample attention from the press and other media. Altogether, it was very a stimulating event in which leading scientists on stem cell research and functional genomics closely interacted with the attending postdocs, students and representatives of press, biotech industry, and governmental agencies.
Members of the centers also met informally outside the meeting and were given a glimpse of Moscow. There was a lot of enthusiasm among the participants. The motivation of the CREI partners to help the Skoltech centers flourish in the years to come came clearly across.
Furthermore, the flawless organization of the symposium by the “event team” of Skoltech together with Alexander Yuzhakov showed that Skoltech is up to its “symposium organizing” task.

Anton Berns

December, 2013
On December 4-5 Anton Berns and Sergey Kiselev paid a visit to the Russian CREI members in Novosibirsk. The students and postdocs were asked to present their projects in a poster session. We were impressed by their motivation and had stimulating discussions with them. Similarly the discussions with the CREI group leaders and other heads of departments were very fruitful and stimulating, and illustrated the quality of research conducted in the various institutes and their interest in collaborating with us. We also were shown around in the animal facility which appeared very well organised and equipped. In the discussions it was emphasised that we should encourage sending talented postdocs to CREI labs elsewhere to gain new experiences. The discussions took place in a very friendly atmosphere. On the second day Anton Berns gave a well-attended seminar on his own work (tumor cell heterogeneity and cells-of-origin of mouse small cell and non-small cell lung cancers).

August, 2013
Kick-off meeting of Stem Cell CREI in Amsterdam on August 29, 2013.
During a one day meeting our CREI members and Skoltech management discussed how to develop the Stem Cell CREI in the years to come.  The discussions centered on three items.

  • How can we as quickly as possible create adequate laboratory and support facilities at Skoltech. The option to establish a teaching lab was supported as a potential first step.
  • What should be the content of the education program.
  • How will we recruit new PIs for the CREI at Skolkovo.

Each of these items resulted in a series of action points.
Anton Berns during his next visit to Moscow on September 9 and 10 will discuss the facility issues with the Skoltech management and with Victor Kotelianski, the director of the CREI on RNAi and infectious diseases.  This should give a better view on which type of facilities can be made available, and when.
For the biology educational program, a small task force will be formed, chaired by Mats Hanson. Gerald de Haan will represent our CREI, Victor Kotelianski the CREI focusing in RNAi and infectious disease. The MIT group charged with the Skoltech curriculum will also participate in this task force.
For recruiting we hope to learn soon what we can offer to candidates with regard to start-up packages and what system Skoltech will put in place to support the research on a permanent basis. Once this is clear we will start recruiting PI’s for our Stem Cell CREI.

All those attending the kick-off meeting showed strong commitment to make our CREI a success.
A good start!

June, 2013
Skoltech Center for Stem Cell Research: Introducing an international collaboration

April, 2013
The Center was established in April 2013. The contract was signed by the President of Autonomous Non-Profit Educational Institution of Higher Professional Education the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology Edward Francis Crawley, by the Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Groningen Professor Folkert Kuipers, and by the Director of Vavilov Institute of General Genetics of Russian Academy of Sciences Yankovskiy Nikolay