MARISTEM- Stem cells of marine/aquatic invertebrates: from basic research to innovative applications

Loriano Ballarin, Baruch Rinkevich, Kerstin Bartscherer, Artur Burzynski, Sebastien Cambier, Matteo Cammarata, Isabelle Domart-Coulon, Damjana Drobne, Juanma Encinas, Uri Frank, Anne-Marie Geneviere, Bert Hobmayer, Helike Lohelaid, Daniel Lyons, Pedro Martinez, Paola Oliveri, Lorena Peric, Stefano Piraino, Andreja Ramsak, Sebastian RakersFabian Rentzsch, Amalia Rosner, Tiago Henriques da Silva, Ildiko Maureen Lara Somorjai, Sherif Suleiman, Ana Varela Coelho

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The “stem cells” discipline represents one of the most dynamic areas in biomedicine. While adult marine/aquatic invertebrate stem cell (MISC) biology is of prime research and medical interest, studies on stem cells from organisms outside the classical vertebrate (e.g., human, mouse, and zebrafish) and invertebrate (e.g., Drosophila, Caenorhabditis) models have not been pursued vigorously. Marine/aquatic invertebrates constitute the largest biodiversity and the widest phylogenetic radiation on Earth, from morphologically simple organisms (e.g., sponges, cnidarians), to the more complex mollusks, crustaceans, echinoderms, and protochordates. These organisms contain a kaleidoscope of MISC-types that allow the production of a large number of novel bioactive-molecules, many of which are of significant potential interest for human health. MISCs further participate in aging and regeneration phenomena, including whole-body regeneration. For years, the European MISC-community has been highly fragmented and has established scarce ties with biomedical industries in an attempt to harness MISCs for human welfare. Thus, it is important to (i) consolidate the European community of researchers working on MISCs; (ii) promote and coordinate European research on MISC biology; (iii) stimulate young researchers to embark on research in MISC-biology; (iv) develop, validate, and share novel MISC tools and methodologies; (v) establish the MISC discipline as a forefront interest of biomedical disciplines, including nanobiomedicine; and vi) establish collaborations with industries to exploit MISCs as sources of bioactive molecules. In order to fill the recognized gaps, the EC-COST Action 16203 “MARISTEM” has recently been launched. At its initial stage, the consortium unites 26 scientists from EC countries, Cooperating countries, and Near Neighbor Countries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number526
Number of pages21
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018


  • Aging
  • Bioactive molecules
  • Blue biotechnology
  • Cancer
  • Cell culture
  • COST Action
  • Europe
  • Marine/aquatic invertebrates
  • Regeneration
  • Stem cells


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