The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) will present this year’s ISSCR Momentum Award to Valentina Greco, PhD, Carolyn Walch Slayman Professor of Genetics and member of the Yale Stem Cell Center. The prize recognizes the exceptional achievements of an investigator whose innovative research has established a major area of stem cell-related research with a strong trajectory for future success. Greco will present her science during a special lecture on June 25 during ISSCR 2021 Virtual, the world’s leading meeting of global innovators in stem cell science and regenerative medicine.
Studies from Greco’s lab are redefining scientific understanding of the complex mechanisms that organize and regulate the skin stem cell niche and the behavior of normal and mutant cells in the epidermis under physiologic challenge and with aging. Her group’s body of work exploring cell biology in vivo determined that the niche, rather than the stem cells, are required for tissue growth, that location in the niche dictates stem cell fate, that the niche exploits stem cell plasticity to maintain homeostasis, and that homeostatic correction battles disease emergence. These breakthroughs pave the way for new concepts in mammalian regenerative biology.
“Valentina is a wonderful ambassador for the stem cell community and in particular for young, female scientists in our field,” said Christine Mummery, PhD, ISSCR’s president. “She has a confidence and skill to pursue bold new ideas. Not only is she a pioneer in live cell imaging, but she also has made multiple important discoveries regarding the mechanisms that regulate epithelial stem cell function. We are honored to recognize Valentina for her momentous achievements.”
Beyond her creativity and scientific talent, Greco has shown great leadership. She is deliberate in her commitment to career development and the training of young faculty and her lab members, and brings tremendous enthusiasm to her work. Throughout her career, Greco has sought out new ways to enhance her effectiveness as a mentor by pursuing education from others, thereby establishing a strong foundation for making fundamental scientific discoveries in partnership with her lab members. She shared her perspectives and experiences as a woman and an immigrant working in science in Stem Cell Reports, Women in Stem Cell Science, Part 1.
“My lab and I are honored to be recognized with this award,” Greco said. “Our science is inspired by the previous insights of incredible scientists that have paved the way for our contributions including the inspiring work of Cristina Lo Celso, David Scadden, Charles Lin, and Shosei Yoshida and their pioneering live imaging of mammalian stem cells in blood regeneration and spermatogenesis.”
Greco was also awarded the ISSCR Dr. Susan Lim Outstanding Young Investigator Award in 2014.