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Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells, a fascinating new exhibition that explores how stem cells function in the human body.

Opening on January 23, 2016, in the main exhibit gallery of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

January 20, 2016

San Diego—The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center opens an engaging new exhibition about the initial cells that form the basis of our bodies and are so important we couldn't survive more than three hours without them.

Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells, opening January 23 in the Fleet's Main Gallery,will show visitors how each of us is the result of a handful of tiny stem cells that multiplied to produce the 200 different types of specialized cells that exist in our body. The exhibition also explains how stem cells continue to be active to keep the body healthy.

Stem cells are very powerful cells found in humans, non-human animals and even plants. They are the body's building blocks because they are constantly at work, rebuilding tissue and keeping us healthy. Every minute of every day, your body loses cells, usually through regular use (for example, cells in your intestine only live 3-4 days). When this happens, stem cells come to the rescue to replace them.

What makes stem cells special is their ability to do two things: self-renew and specialize. When they divide, stem cells make the choice to either produce a copy of themselves or to grow into specialized cells that can repair and replace other tissues in the human body. Some tissues, like skin, blood and the intestine, need constant regeneration, which could not take place without the self-renewal and specialization of stem cells. Other stem cells repair damage to the body's tissues-for example, the pain of a pulled or strained muscle is due to damage to the tissue-which is healed by stem cells that are activated to rebuild the damaged muscle tissue.

It is these regenerative and malleable properties that makes stem cells the "centerpieces" of regenerative medicine - medicine that seeks to grow new cells, tissues and organs to repair or replace those damaged by injury, disease or aging.

The exhibition Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells immerses us in this fascinating subject through four high-tech, fun and interactive zones. 

The first zone is "Our Stem Cells," where visitors will enter a microscopic world to discover stem cells in the human body, learn where they are and find out what they do.

The next zone is "Super Powers," where visitors can play a game that puts them in the position of a researcher trying to harness the power of stem cells. Participants will learn that stem cells can be unpredictable! This zone will show Fleet guests the scope and limitations of medical research.

In "Your Body: A Cell Factory," visitors follow the transformation of stem cells in a body and play a game to keep the body healthy by creating new cells for skin, blood and internal organs from stem cells.

Lastly, visitors can enter the "Lab" to learn about the work being done in research centers around the world to learn more about stem cells.

"Stem cell research is such an important realm of science for the future, with much of the research going on here in San Diego," said Dr. Steve Snyder CEO of the Rueben H. Fleet Science Center. "The Fleet is excited to host an exhibition that brings this fascinating area of science to life in a way that visitors of all ages can learn something new."

"One of our goals at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is to help raise awareness about the importance of stem cell research and the exciting progress that is being made here in California, that's why we helped create this exhibit," said Jonathan Thomas, Ph.D., J.D., Chair of CIRM's Board. "San Diego is one of the leading centers for stem cell research in the U.S. and CIRM has invested almost $380 million supporting the work taking place here. So it's wholly appropriate that this exciting exhibition makes its U.S. debut here  at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. It is a wonderful opportunity to engage curious science learners of all ages."  

Super Cells will be open from January 23 to May 1, 2016, in the Main Gallery of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. The exhibition is included with the cost of Fleet admission. Super Cells is a trilingual exhibition, featuring text in English, Spanish and French.

Super Cells comes to the Fleet through a partnership with CIRM, California's Stem Cell Agency.

For more information, visit http://www.rhfleet.org/exhibitions/super-cells.

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To schedule a media preview of Super Cells, please contact Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Public Relations Manager Nathan Young at 619-685-5743 or nyoung@rhfleet.org.
 
Interviews can be scheduled with the Fleet's CEO, Dr. Steve Snyder, San Diego scientists who work with stem cells and other select representatives from CIRM.
 
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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

About the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM)
 
At California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, we never forget that we were created by the people of California to accelerate stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs, and act with a sense of urgency to succeed in that mission.
 
To meet this challenge, our team of highly trained and experienced professionals actively partner with both academia and industry in a hands-on, entrepreneurial environment to fast track the development of today's most promising stem cell technologies.
 
With $3 billion in funding and approximately 300 active stem cell programs in our portfolio, CIRM is the world's largest institution dedicated to helping people by bringing the future of cellular medicine closer to reality.
 
For more information go to www.cirm.ca.gov

 

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About the Fleet Science Center

The Fleet Science Center connects people of all ages to the possibilities and power of science to create a better future. At the science center, you can explore and investigate more than 100 interactive exhibits that pique your curiosity and become immersed in an IMAX film adventure that shows the wonders of the planet—and beyond—in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. For young science enthusiasts, the Fleet hosts school field trips, science workshops and educational camps. For adults, we offer events like Fleet Night of Science and community events, such as Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar. In the community, we provide free neighborhood science events weekly through 52 Weeks of Science. Teachers are encouraged to join our Teacher Partner Program and take advantage of our professional development opportunities. Additionally, at the Fleet Science Center, visitors will find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store, and pizzas, sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in Craveology. Located at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet is San Diego’s science center. Science starts here and opens a world of possibility. For information regarding current admission prices, please call (619) 238-1233 or visit our website at fleetscience.org.