"The world needs a great university that contributes to scientific breakthroughs, but can also address the ethical implications of scientific advances by drawing on an ancient moral and spiritual tradition." - Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President, University of Notre Dame

Adult stem cells offer hope for regeneration of tissues and even organs and for curing many diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson’s. Adult stem cells are relatively easy to harvest, tend not to form tumors and recipients who receive their own stem cells tend not to reject them.

Notre Dame has never, does not now, nor will it ever, conduct human embryonic stem cell research. The research we do involves adult stem cells and non-human embryonic stem cells and is therefore in full accord with the Catholic Church teaching as expressed most recently in Dignitas Personae (The Dignity of the Person).

Adult stem cell research initiatives at Notre Dame include:

Biologist David Hyde is examining ways to stimulate adult stem cells in the zebrafish retina to replace damaged neurons and restore sight.

Biologist Malcolm Fraser Jr. has developed a mobile DNA vector technology that allows researchers to reprogram adult skin or fat tissues into cells that can become virtually any tissue in the human body, including liver and neural tissues.

Biomolecular engineer Ryan Roeder is investigating novel scaffold biomaterials for bone tissue regeneration in highly comminuted fractures (in which bones are broken, splintered or crushed) using adult stem cells and growth factors.

Biologist Robert Schulz is screening the fruit fly Drosophila genome to discover genes that are essential for hematopoetic (multipotent stem cells that give rise to all the blood cell types) stem cell maintenance and to determine the mechanisms through which these genes function in stem or support cells.

Law professor O. Carter Snead’s research and teaching centers around the ethical, legal and social questions associated with stem cell research and related questions, such as human cloning.

Biomolecular engineer Diane Wagner is developing a new method of simultaneously differentiating adult mesenchymal stem cells (multipotent stem cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types) from bone marrow and fat tissues to the bone and cartilage lineages in a single medium for the purpose of osteochondral (bone and cartilage) engineering.

Historian and philosopher Philip Sloan is interested in the issues surrounding the concept of life, modern genetics and ethical and theological questions raised by the development of the life sciences from both an historical and philosophical perspective.

Biomolecular engineer Glen Niebur is studying the mechanical environment of the stem cell within the bone marrow in order to gain a new understanding of the effects of daily activities on the stem cell environment.

The Catholic Church has been a robust participant in the ethical debate over stem cell research.
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Our non-human embryonic stem cell research practices are fully consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
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Do you want to know the difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells?
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Dr. Hyde’s adult stem cell research will aid the relief of human suffering. Learn more about what other ND Stem Cell Experts are doing on campus and around the world.
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