Stem Cell Hall of Awards
In the late 1800s, a German scientist named Hans Driesch separated the cells of a two-celled sea urchin embryo. He shook it apart, put them in a careful environment and watched as each cell developed into a new embryo and eventually into a new sea urchin, thus creating twins.
Ernest McCulloch and James Till were two scientists who worked together on research related to leukemia under the umbrella of the Ontario Cancer Institute in Canada. At the time, scientists believed radiation “melted" away cancer cells while leaving normal tissue intact. In the early 1960s, while experimenting with the injection of bone marrow cells into irradiated mice, they discovered that adult stem cells had special properties.
According to the Institute, “They observed nodules in the animals’ spleens when the bone marrow cells were injected. These nodules appeared in proportion to the number of cells injected, leading the two young scientists to speculate that the nodules—which they termed “spleen colonies"—were arising from a single marrow cell."
British scientist Martin Evans first proved that stem cells from mice embryos could become any type of fully developed cell and tissue in 1981. His work earned him a Nobel Prize in 2007.
U.S. scientist Gail Martin was one of the first researchers to extract stem cells from mouse embryos and the first scientist to isolate embryonic stem cells, a term she coined. Not only that, but she discovered how to keep them alive with the use of a Petri dish (a sterile environment used for growing cells).