Stem-cell researcher Takahashi gets plug from Nature

Kyodo

A researcher at Riken Center for Development Biology is one of British science journal Nature’s five persons to watch in 2014, recognizing her work using artificially made stem cells to restore damaged retinas of blind people.

Masayo Takahashi, project leader at the government-funded research institute, was listed at the top of the five potential newsmakers in the Nature edition that came out Thursday.

“Induced pluripotent stem cells could get their first test in the clinic” through her efforts, the journal said.

“It’s a great honor and I feel greater responsibility. I will continue the project persistently to make many people happy,” Takahashi said.

She plans to create iPS cells from the skin of patients suffering from macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness. The project calls for turning iPS cells into retinal cells and inserting them into the patients. She has already started recruiting participants and is expected to conduct a transplant as early as next summer.

The four others to watch are Christopher Field, a co-chair at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, incoming president of the European Research Council; Koppillil Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization; and Gordon Sanghera, chief executive of Oxford Nanopore.