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Join SciWorks for the next Science Café at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 19 at Silo Deli, Wine and Cheese in Reynolda Village. The topic is “Development of a Single-Shot Sterilization Method for Cats and Dogs.”IMG_0577

Dr. Colin Bishop, professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, will discuss the groundbreaking research aimed at the development of an injection that would destroy particular cells in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that controls reproduction in mammals. This research focuses on the fact that because brain cells do not regenerate, it is believed that the treatment will lead to permanent sterility in the animals. This method of sterilization has the potential to eliminate unwanted mating behaviors of companion animals without affecting their general health.

Specifically, the treatment aims to destroy GnRH cells in the hypothalamus that stimulate hormones that control male and female fertility. “We are designing a novel system for delivering a toxin to the GNRH cells by engineering nano-sized packages called exosomes that are generated from adult stem cells,” says Dr. Bishop. “These packages will be tagged to carry the olecular ‘address’ of the GnRH cells so that they will be delivered to and fuse with these cells only. Other cell types will not be affected. Inside the package would be a deadly ‘message,’ a toxin derived from influenza A that is designed to kill the GNRH cells.”

The milestones of this two-year project include generating engineered exosomes from mouse stem cells and evaluating their potential to specifically fuse with the GnRH cells. The team will then load the exosomes with the toxin and test their ability to kill GNRH cells in a laboratity setting and in mice.

Ready to learn more about all of the exciting science that is going on around us in Winston-Salem? Start coming to SciWorks’ Science Cafés soon! For more information or suggestions for topics or speakers, please contact Kelli Isenhour at (336) 714-7106 or kisenhour@sciworks.org.