MU stem cell research lecture hopes to dispel misconceptions

Friday, September 23, 2011 | 4:30 p.m. CDT; updated 3:23 p.m. CDT, Saturday, September 24, 2011

COLUMBIA — Mark Kirk, professor of biological sciences at MU, plans to address the controversial issue of cloning during the Saturday Morning Science talk about stem cell research this weekend.

"For people who fear cloning, I will try to clarify the difference between human being cloning and human cellular cloning," Kirk said. "And separate science fiction from science fact."

If you go:

WHO: Mark Kirk, professor of biological sciences, MU

WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 24

WHERE: Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center, MU campus

COST: Free

NOTE: Bagels, donuts, juice and coffee will be served at 10 a.m.  Seating is limited to 250.

Kirk will illustrate generalities about stem cell research and appeal to an audience with little prior scientific knowledge by using an online animated tutorial. 

According to the Saturday Morning Science website, the program welcomes those who have any interest in science and aims "to create a culture in which engagement between scientists and the public is the norm." 

Kirk's lecture, titled "Why aren't stem cells created equal?" will discuss the difference between stem cells fertilized in vitro and adult cells pulled from tissue or skin biopsies that are reprogrammed to function embryonically.

Kirk's research focuses on stem cell therapies for central nervous systems disorders like Batten disease and spinal cord injuries, Kirk said. He said he will discuss his team's success in treating retinas from model mice that are affected by Batten disease.  Batten disease is a hereditary disorder that causes vision problems and seizures.

For more information about Kirk's Saturday Morning Science lecture, visit

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