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Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) - Stem cells growing up and finding their niche

June 10, 2020

3:00pm - 4:00pm

Building 10, Clinical Center, Masur Auditorium

The NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, colloquially known as WALS, is the highest-profile lecture program at the NIH. Lectures occur on most Wednesdays from September through June from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10 on the NIH Bethesda campus.

Each season includes some of the biggest names in biomedical and behavioral research. The goal of the WALS is to keep NIH researchers abreast of the latest and most important research in the United States and beyond. An added treat is the annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture, which features top authors and other cultural icons. All speakers are nominated by the NIH community.

Speaker: Leonard Zon, M.D.

Stem cells have the ability to self renew or differentiate and this is controlled by the environment or the niche. By understanding the RNA expression and chromatin structure of endothelial cells that stimulate blood stem cells, we have been able to fully reconstruct an ectopic stem cell niche in vivo. Blood stem cells are attracted to the ectopic sites and divide. Stem cells expand in clones and we have developed a system to barcode each stem cell and follow cell fate. Mutations in epigenetic regulators associated with aging establish clonal dominance in the blood. Distinct mechanisms of clonal dominance occur during early life verses adulthood.

This lecture will be followed by a reception in the NIH Library. Special thanks to the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) for its support of the weekly reception. FAES is proud to co-sponsor with the NIH in hosting the Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series.

To watch the WALS lecture online, visit Registration is not required; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Fire regulations require that every person in Masur Auditorium must have a seat. Standing in the aisles or in the back of the auditorium is not permitted. Sign language interpreters can be provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this event should contact Jacqueline Roberts,, 301-594-6747, or the Federal Relay, 800-877-8339.