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Professor on research team that makes new advancement with stem cells

By Jessica Lewis, News Editor

University professor of bioengineering Sina Rabbany was among the team of scientists that recently made a new advancement involving stem cells. The team of scientists was able to generate endothelial cells, also known as blood vessel-forming cells, from stem cells.

Rabbany attended the University of Pennsylvania where he received his Bachelors of Science in Engineering cum laude, as well as a Masters of Science in Engineering and his Doctor of Philosophy.

"In 1990, I joined the faculty of the Hofsta's Department Engineering and started the Bioengineering Program, the first one in the region.  I served as the Chairman of the Department of Engineering at 2001, holding that position for a three year term," Rabbany said.

Rabbany worked with scientists, from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College, where Rabbany works as an adjunct professor of bioengineering. The group worked at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, because the, "physical infrastructures in the sciences at Hofstra are inadequate... and the lack of functional laboratory space does not give me the opportunity to do my research on campus," Rabbany said.

"We have been working on this particular discovery for the last four years," Rabbany said, "we have developed a new technique for turning human embryonic stem cells into functional endothelial cells, which are critical to the formation of blood vessels. Endothelial cells form the interior ‘lining' of all blood vessels and are the main component of capillaries, the smallest and most abundant vessels."

"In the future, we believe, it will be possible to inject these cells into humans to heal damaged organs and tissues," Rabbany said of the discovery, "To achieve long-term clinical benefits, there remain additional hurdles to exploiting endothelial cells generated in vitro… our approach may also yield new ways to study genetically inherited vascular diseases."

"Stem cells make one think about the enormous possibility science holds for society," Rabbany concluded.

Sina Rabbany (Photo courtesy of Hofstra University)

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