Lisa Willemse

Lisa is a science communicator with 15+ years' experience in the fields of regenerative medicine, child development and technology. She launched this blog (first as the Stem Cell Network Blog) in 2009, and served as co-editor until April 2015. She is currently the Senior Communications Advisor for the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine and has recently contributed to Motherboard, Science Borealis and the Genome Alberta and Canadian Blood Services blogs. Follow her on Twitter and Medium @WillemseLA.

Posts by: Lisa


Right Turn: These three videos show why we should be impressed by our young stem cell researchers

Author: Lisa Willemse, 11/18/16

Stroke, lung damage and mathematical modeling. You may not think these three topics have much in common and for the most part you’d be right. But they have more than one common link. First, each is either a disease focus or methodology within stem cell research. Secondly, each subject –biomaterials to aid stem cell engraftment…Read more

Right Turn: “Comic” twist on CRISPR

Author: Lisa Willemse, 09/30/16

There’s nothing really funny about the patent debate on CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. It’s been a contentious and expensive court battle, that has thankfully steered clear of mud-slinging (mostly). Which is good, since there’s more than enough of that in the U.S. these days, thanks to the Donald. For those who have followed the CRISPR patent…Read more

Stem cells as the road to repairing Multiple Sclerosis

Author: Lisa Willemse, 06/02/15

. A clinical trial set to begin this month in Ottawa will test the safety and efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells to stimulate repair of damaged nerves in MS patients. This article was published simultaneously on the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine website. On any given day at the general campus of The Ottawa Hospital,…Read more

Right Turn: End of an era, almost

Author: Lisa Willemse, 03/27/15

> This is my final post as co-editor of Signals, and in sitting down to draft it, I found myself struggling to find words. How do you sum up six years of blogging? Quite simply, you don’t. However, as this also marks the end of the Stem Cell Network’s involvement with Signals, it was suggested…Read more

Grow your brains: Neural stem cells in 1 minute.

Author: Lisa Willemse, 03/17/15

> Many of us only become acutely aware of our brain when it’s not working quite right. Like, say, if we have a migraine, or are diagnosed with a mental illness. Or we fall on the ice and give ourself a concussion that affects our vision, motor skills and other cognitive functions (as was my experience…Read more

Right Turn: Super Cells in Newcastle

Author: Lisa Willemse, 03/13/15

> Super Cells has grown wings and flown over to Newcastle. Yes, I know, you’re struck dumb at the improbability of this terrible metaphor, but far less than I am: having reviewed every word, every animation, every image, every concept of this exhibit, I’m completely baffled at how the feather follicle stem cells snuck in there…Read more

Right Turn: My bloody valentine (a new StemCellShort video)

Author: Lisa Willemse, 02/13/15

> The blood stem cell (or hematopoietic stem cell as it’s known in scientific parlance) was the first stem cell to be identified, which makes it a bit of a celebrity, as stem cells go. Here in Canada, we like to think of Drs. James Till and Ernest McCulloch, who made that initial discovery in…Read more

Penalty for Regenetek – Two minutes for obfuscation

Author: Lisa Willemse, 01/16/15

> There are few things in Canada that grab national attention than a story related to hockey. News that surfaced last month that hockey legend Gordie Howe had received an unproven stem cell therapy for stroke continue to grab headlines in this country. In the past week alone, our office has fielded several media calls…Read more

Right Turn: Out of the bubble with gene-edited stem cells

Author: Lisa Willemse, 11/21/14

> This is a rather exciting time to be in the stem cell and regenerative medicine field and one of the main reasons for this is the number of announcements and articles about clinical trials taking place. Seven years ago, when I joined the Stem Cell Network, these were a rare occurrence, but today it’s…Read more

What not to miss at #TMM2014

Author: Lisa Willemse, 10/20/14

> Next week, close to 500 researchers, clinicians, trainees, industry and government representatives will gather in Ottawa for some of the best the stem cell and regenerative medicine research community has to offer. The third Till & McCulloch Meetings is taking place over three days, October 27-29 and we’re going with the theme of three…Read more