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Using Stem Cell-Based Assays for Biological and Drug Discovery Workshop


Location: Bethesda, MD

The NIMH Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science convened a workshop of scientists involved in several ongoing NIMH-funded research efforts involving human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) or similar reprogrammed cell assays. Participants represented the National Cooperative Reprogrammed Cell Research Groups (NCRCRG), PsychENCODE, the Psychiatric Gene Networks initiative, the Brain Somatic Mosaicism initiative, and the NIH Common Fund Tissue Chip Consortium, along with a large number of investigator-initiated projects. This workshop offered opportunities to discuss areas of emerging progress, opportunity, or need.  Speakers discussed current practical strengths and weaknesses of using patient cell line collections versus genetically engineered isogenic cell lines to identify genetically complex psychiatric disease mechanisms. They also discussed measures needed to assess iPSC-derived cell-type fidelity and physiological relevance to their in vivo counterparts, along with current progress and need for improved cell assay technologies. Finally, there was an update on data coordination, collaboration, and data harmonization to advance biological and therapeutics discovery for mental illnesses. Organizers are developing a summary of recommendations from this third NIMH iPSC grantees workshop, which will be made available to the scientific community.