The ISSCR 2021 Annual Meeting starts 21 June


Six days of exceptional stem cell science

Skokie, IL – The ISSCR 2021 Annual Meeting is the most comprehensive gathering of scientists in stem cell research and regenerative medicine in the world. Taking place 21-26 June 2021, this hallmark event offers attendees the opportunity share knowledge, collaborate, and network in a leading-edge interactive virtual meeting experience. Get a behind the scenes preview and register to attend. View the ISSCR 2021 Annual Meeting program.

The meeting will feature unpublished, breaking research exploring new technologies and clinical applications of stem cell research and key sessions of the program will be rebroadcast after the initial session time with live chat to offer greater flexibility for attendees living in Asia and Europe. The ISSCR 2021 Annual Meeting also offers viewing options on demand for registrants through the end of July, making the meeting even more accessible for the global stem cell community.

Each day is focused around one or more of five, defined scientific themes that guide attendees to sessions aligned with research interests. Attendees will be able to take in poster sessions at flexible times throughout the meeting where video chat capabilities will enhance the experience.

Brand new this year are three Plenary Roundtables: The Fascination with Gastrulation: The Applications and Ethics of Modeling Early Development; Stem Cell Organoid Models as Empirical Testbeds for Personal Medicine Development – focusing on Cystic Fibrosis; and Engineered Tissues: Challenges to Bring to Clinic. These thought-provoking Plenary Roundtables are designed to generate discussion and input among the community.

For the first time, the ISSCR will host a panel on Equity in Stem Cell Science where leading scientists will discuss how to promote equity in STEM, support scientists from historically underrepresented groups, and identify systemic changes that will promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of stem cell science. Further, the third annual Women in Science will convene female leaders to discuss challenges and successes in transitioning to leadership positions.

The ISSCR’s 2021 scientific award honorees will each deliver a special lecture on different days throughout the program. We will hear from Valentina Greco, Madeline Lancaster, Stuart H. Orkin, and Janet Rossant who will discuss where their science is now and where it is heading.

The meeting will have more than 325 speakers and 700 poster presenters. Featured lectures include:

Presidential Symposium

21 June, 09:00 EDT

Sponsored by BlueRock Therapeutics

The Presidential Symposium will feature some of the most exciting developments in stem cell research, handpicked by current ISSCR President, Christine Mummery. This year’s session will highlight advances across the germ layers and their derivatives – from the skin and nervous system to the heart and liver. Attendees will explore lessons learned from dissecting stem cells in their niche, in organoids, and in disease models, spanning from basic biology to clinical application.

Elaine Fuchs, PhD, Rockefeller University, USA

Meritxell Huch, PhD, Max Planck Dresden, Germany

Charles Murry, MD, PhD, University of Washington and Sana Biotechnology, USA

Lorenz Studer, MD, Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, USA

Plenary II: Stem Cell Niches

22 June, 09:30 EDT

Sponsored by ROCHE and GENENTECH

Stem cells depend on intimate and complex interactions with their niches for proper function. In this plenary, attendees will learn how novel insights into the cell-neighborhood relationship are driving the field forward. Presentations in this session will dissect cell signaling between stem cells and their niche, the interplay between stem cells and the immune system, cellular interactions necessary for creating gametes in vitro, and advances in multicellular modeling to interrogate different disease states.

Ernest McCulloch Lecture: Sean Morrison, PhD, UT Southwestern, USA

Anne McLaren Lecture: Susana Chuva da Sousa Lopes, PhD, Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands

Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, Hubrecht Institute, Netherlands

Ya-chieh Hsu, PhD, Harvard Medical School, USA

Plenary III: Enabling Technologies/Emerging Technologies

23 June, 09:30 EDT

Sponsored by T-CiRA Joint Research Program

Emerging technologies are pushing forward the boundaries of stem cell science. Exquisite cell imaging, next generation genome editing, tissue engineering, and computational modeling are all being applied to rapidly advance the stem cell field and the pace of discoveries. Discover the newest techniques and approaches and gain insights that you can adapt to your research.

Runwanthi Gunawardane, PhD, Allen Institute for Cell Science, USA

David R. Liu, PhD, Harvard University, USA

Matthais Lutolf, PhD, EFPL, Switzerland

Timm Schroeder, PhD, ETH Zurich, Basel, Switzerland

Plenary IV: Self-Organization of Developmental Processes

24 June, 09:30 EDT

Sponsored by Bio-Techne

From the early embryo to tumor formation, gastruloids to organoids, stem cell scientists are unraveling the mysteries of how cells self-organize and develop into complex organisms. Leading scientists will present cutting edge research, examining stem cell dynamics from fertilization through specific organ formation. Insights into these intricate processes in the context of both development and disease will help drive future therapeutics.

Anne Grapin-Botton, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Germany

Melissa Little, PhD, Murdoch Children’s Research Hospital, Australia

Nicolas Rivron, PhD, IMBA, Austria

Takanori Takebe, MD, Children’s Hospital Cincinnati, USA

Yi Arial Zeng, PhD, Shanghai Institute of Biological Sciences, China

Plenary V: Cellular Identity

25 June, 09:30 EDT

Sponsored by Vision Care, Inc.

The question of what regulates cell identity is at the heart of stem cell science. Experts will delve into how gene expression is regulated in pluripotent cells, what changes during development and reprogramming, and how it can be manipulated in cell engineering. Attendees will gain a new understanding of how studying mechanisms of cell state, type, and differentiation can identify new targets for disease treatment.

Amanda Fisher, PhD, UKRI-MRC & Imperial College London, UK

Samantha Morris, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, USA

John Ngai, PhD, NIH Brain Initiative, USA

Ramesh Shivdasani, MD, PhD, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, USA

Plenary VI: Cellular Therapy and Tissue Engineering

26 June, 09:30 EDT

Sponsored by STEMCELL Technologies

In a multidisciplinary approach, scientists are integrating stem cell biology with tissue and genetic engineering, chemical biology, and systems biology to use pluripotent-based cells and tissues for regenerative medicine. Learn from leading scientists who will share their latest advances in disease modeling and drug discovery, generating tissues for replacement therapy, and mechanisms to protect transplanted tissues from immune rejection.

Shuibing Chen, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College, USA

Sonja Schrepfer MD, PhD, UCSF and Sana Biotechnology Inc., USA

Paul Tesar, PhD, Case Western Reserve University, USA

Wolfram Zimmermann MD, University Medical Center Göettingen, Germany

Plenary VII: Breakthroughs in Therapy Development

26 June, 13:15 EDT


Experts are overcoming key hurdles and progressing stem cell therapies to the clinic. Attendees will learn about the cutting-edge techniques that are making these advances possible. Learn more about how novel pluripotent-derived disease models, genetic engineering, and universal stem cells are bringing scientists one step closer.

Keynote Address: Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, CiRA, Kyoto University, Japan

John McNeish Memorial Lecture: Viviane Tabar, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, USA

Patient Advocate Address: Jacquelien Noordoek, President of CF Europe, CEO of the Dutch CF Foundation, Netherlands

James E. Bradner, MD, Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research, USA

Sergiu Pasca, MD, Stanford University, USA


Complimentary registration is available for media; apply for credentials.

About the International Society for Stem Cell Research (

With nearly 4,000 members from more than 65 countries, the International Society for Stem Cell Research is the preeminent global, cross-disciplinary, science-based organization dedicated to stem cell research and its translation to the clinic. The ISSCR mission is to promote excellence in stem cell science and applications to human health. Additional information about stem cell science is available at A Closer Look at Stem Cells, an initiative of the Society to inform the public about stem cell research and its potential to improve human health.

Media Contact
Kym Kilbourne
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