STEM CELLS OF MARINE/AQUATIC INVERTEBRATES: FROM BASIC RESEARCH TO INNOVATIVE APPLICATIONS
The “stem cells” discipline represents one of the most dynamic areas in biology and biomedicine. Marine and aquatic invertebrate stem cell (MISC) biology is of prime research and medical interest. The aim of this COST Action is to consolidate and promote an interdisciplinary network of the European community working on MISC. This will help to develop novel MISC tools and methodologies, promote the MISC discipline in the front interest of biomedical disciplines and establishing collaborations with industries.
The present Action aims at fostering and consolidating the European community of scientists and institutions involved in marine/aquatic invertebrates stem cells in order to overcome the current fragmentation, lay the foundations for the creation of a strong and competitive community, build innovative ideas useful in evolutionary studies and applied biomedical disciplines and strengthen the excellence through the creation of a wide network of European researchers. More in detail, the Action will promote:
- joint research in stem cell biology;
- sharing of innovative ideas and discussion on compared models;
- coordination of research in marine/aquatic stem cell biology;
- establishment of ties with biomedical and biotech industries for the use of marine/aquatic invertebrate stem cells for animal and human welfare as well as a source of molecules of interested of interest for biotechnological purposes;
- mentoring of new generation of talented young researchers with careers in MISC disciplines in order for them to become part of the future of marine science(both in industry and academy)
This action will provide a cohesive new framework that will increase European competitiveness in stem cell research and marine biotechnology (blue technology), as the identification and culture of stem cells from marine/aquatic invertebrates open the possibility for ambitious industrial programs for the exploitation of cellular processes/molecules relevant to human health and of interest to the cosmetics sector, fine industries, agriculture and more.
This action will lead to a major socio-economic impacts both in the short and long term and can contribute to change public perception (and that of policy maker) of marine/aquatic invertebrates towards a full awareness of the importance of marine biodiversity (and its conservation) as well as of marine stem cell phenomena from various points of view.
The action has a wide geographical network involving 38 institutions from 22 countries (21 COST countries and 1 NNC). In the network there are universities, research institutes and 2 SMEs. Contacts and collaborations with additional biotech industries will be encouraged for technology transfer and the exploitation of results of marine/aquatic stem cell investigation in the fields of biomedicine and biotechnology in order to reduce the gaps between academic research and industry, and improve the European capacity to generate commercial opportunities.