Lab News

June 2018 Kevin Francis served as an external reviewer for the LEaDing Fellows training program, a joint initiative of the Delft University of Technology, Leiden University, Erasmus University, Leiden University Medical Centre and Erasmus University Medical Centre to support postdoctoral research within the European Union. This Marie Sk?odowska-Curie COFUND Program supports approximately 90 postdoctoral fellows during their research training.

May 2018 Kevin Francis gave an invited seminar on his research program to the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. His presentation titled “Patient-specific pluripotent stem cells: new hope for rare diseases" was attended by students and faculty from East Carolina University.

April 2018 Kevin Francis, David Pearce, and Jill Weimer attended board meetings for the Charlotte and Gwenyth Gray Foundation and the Sebastian Velona Foundation in Santa Monica, CA.

March 2018 Kevin Francis gave an invited presentation to the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Dakota. His presentation, "Where’s the fat?  Mechanisms underlying disorders of cholesterol synthesis” was attended by faculty, staff, and students at the Graduate Education and Applied Research Center at USD.

February 2018 Ruthellen Anderson, MD-PhD candidate in the Francis Lab, received an NIH F30 Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).  The goal of the NRSA program is to support highly promising predoctoral students during their mentored dissertation research and clinical training to increase the pool of highly trained physician-scientists in the biomedical research workforce.  Ruthellen is investigating endocytosis and synaptic activity in patients with cholesterol synthesis disorders.

February 2018 Kevin Francis gave a seminar at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine.  His seminar, titled "Shedding New Light on the Mechanisms Underlying Cholesterol Synthesis" was part of the Grand Rounds Series offered by the Department of Pediatrics.
January 2018 Ruthellen Anderson, a MD/PhD candidate in the Francis laboratory at Sanford Research, recently received funding from the Center for Brain and Behavior Research at the University of South Dakota for her dissertation research. Ruthellen will use these funds to investigate how cholesterol homeostasis regulates fundamental cellular processes critical for the development and function of the nervous system. “Dynamic regulation of vesicular trafficking by altered sterol homeostasis in neural cell types”
January 2018 Dr. Kevin Francis published a review article in Molecular and Cellular Probes discussing reprogramming and genome editing of cells from patients with rare diseases to understand disease pathogenesis and identify therapeutic targets. "Modeling rare diseases with induced pluripotent stem cell technology"
December 2017 Dr. Kevin Francis was an invited speaker at a research conference in Bethesda, MD focused on management of CLN1 and CLN2 Batten Disease.  Dr. Francis presented on modeling rare neurological disorders with induced pluripotent stem cells.  The conference brought together Batten disease researchers, families, and other academic researchers to discuss how to continue to move Batten research forward.  "Batten Disease: 2017 Update of Translational Research for Management of INCL/LINCL".

December 2017 Kevin Francis gave an invited presentation at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Francis highlighted findings from his research program studying genetic disorders affecting cholesterol synthesis.

December 2017 Kevin Francis received a sub award from the Hoppe Lab at South Dakota State University to collaborate on a project funded by the BioSystems Networks/Translational Research or BioSNTR to genetically modify iPSCs and study macrophage differentiation and function.

October 2017 Dr. Kevin Francis gave an invited seminar to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at South Dakota State University. Dr. Francis also met with students and faculty to discuss collaborative opportunities with Sanford Research. "Modeling disorders of sterol biosynthesis with reprogrammed stem cells."

September 2017 Dr. Kevin Francis participated in a career panel for students at Augustana University and the University of South Dakota for the American Chemical Society's Sioux Valley Local Section meeting. The event was held on the campus of Augustana University and included a student poster session as well.

August 2017 Faculty, students and staff from the Francis lab attended the annual Neurobehavioral Research Symposium for the Center for Brain and Behavior Research (CBBRe) at the University of South Dakota. Dr, Kevin Francis moderated the morning session of invited speakers while he and Dr. Jacob Cain also judged trainee posters, and Ruthellen Anderson, MD/PhD student in the Francis lab, presented a poster.

June 2017 Dr. Kevin Francis was invited to present his research findings to both scientists and families at the Smith-Lemli-Optiz (SLO) Scientific Family Medical Conference in Cincinnati, OH. Dr. Francis discussed modeling and understanding SLO using induced pluripotent stem cells derived from patients. "Modeling Smith-Lemli-Opitz with pluripotent stem cells" and "SLO Stem Cell Research"/p>

June 2017 Dr. Kevin Francis gave a research presentation at the Regenerative Medicine conference at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine at USCD in La Jolla, CA. The conference brought together researchers and physicians to discuss the current research around stem cells and the application of stem cells in orthopedic treatments.

May 2017 Dr. Kevin Francis received a research grant from the Sanford Health Foundation for the Cellular Therapies and Stem Cell Biology Pilot Grant.

April 2017 Kevin Francis, PhD, was invited to present as part of a plenary session at the annual meeting of the German Society of Human Genetics in Bochum, Germany. The German Society of Human Genetics is the primary professional membership organization for over 1,000 German researchers, academic clinicians, laboratory practice professionals and genetic counselors. Dr. Francis presented on "Modeling disorders of sterol biosynthesis with reprogrammed stem cells."

February 2017, Kevin Francis, PhD, was invited to give a research seminar to students and faculty at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. The title of his seminar was "Stem cell models of neurodevelopment: New hope for rare disease".

February 2017, Kevin Francis, PhD, presented an invited workshop titled "Modeling rare neurological disorders with reprogrammed stem cells" to students and faculty at the Center for Brain and Behavior Research at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

October 2016, Dr. Francis gave a research presentation entitled "Stem cell research and therapies: Fact vs. Fiction" at the 2016 SD Chapter meeting of the American Academy of Professional Coders in Sioux Falls, SD.

May 2016, Dr. Kevin Francis was recently invited to present at the UND Better Brains Symposium in Grand Forks. Dr. Francis presented on his induced pluripotent stem cell research at this symposium which was sponsored by the University of North Dakota School of Medicine Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Epigenomics of Development and Disease.

April 2016, “Dr. Francis was first author on a research article published in the April edition of Nature Medicine. The article is titled “Modeling Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome with induced pluripotent stem cells reveals a causal role for Wnt/?-catenin defects in neuronal cholesterol synthesis phenotypes”. This highly significant article was highlighted by the journal with a preview article and multiple social media highlights.

April 2016, Dr. Kevin Francis, an Associate Scientist in the Children’s Health Research Center, was recently interviewed for KSOO’s “A Better You” to talk about his work using induced pluripotent stem cells to study rare neurological disorders.

April 2016, Dr. Francis was invited to present at the Building Better Brains Symposium at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine in Grand Forks, ND on April 12th.

March 2016, Dr. Francis was invited to present on his research at Northern State University in Aberdeen., SD on March 16th. The title of Dr. Francis’ seminar was "Modeling human disease with pluripotent stem cells.”

October 2015, Dr. Kevin Francis was the senior author on an oral presentation at the American Society of Human Genetics entitled: Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome iPS cells demonstrate abnormal neuronal differentiation due to 7-dehydrocholesterol impairment of Wnt/-Catenin signaling.