b'Dear StemCONN Participant,On behalf of the organizing committee, welcome to StemCONN 2021. We are thrilled to host our 7th StemCONN conference, where we celebrate 16 years of achievement in stem cell and regenerative medicine research in Connecticut. StemCONN 2021 not only highlights our cutting-edge stem cell research advancements and provides a forum for discussion among scientists and policy makers, it also at this very unique time, showcases research efforts using stem cells to study responses to viral infections like SARS-CoV2, the cause of the COVID19 pandemic. Because attending on-line conferences allows flexibility with scheduling, StemCONN 2021 will be held on the mornings of April 1 and April 8th allowing participants time to process what theyve learned and meet with the speakers in the afternoons. (Note that most of the live content will also be available to registrants as recordings for 1 year following the conference on our website: StemCONN.org.)We bring together leading investigators from around the world to highlight the very best in stem cell research including basic science discoveries, bioscience industry collaborations, and advances in translational research that have truly enhanced patient care. We feature partnerships between academic researchers and the Connecticut bioscience industry that are advancing knowledge, stimulating new collaborations, and fostering biomedical developments in the state and region. It is a very exciting time in stem cell research, as new discoveries in the laboratory lead to medical breakthroughs and clinical therapies never before imagined. The world-class science that will be shared at StemCONN 2021 embraces these themes. StemCONN 2021 marks the 16th anniversary of the ground-breaking legislation that has propelled Connecticut to the forefront of stem cell and regenerative medicine research. The states investment in bioscience initiatives continues to pay dividends for its citizenssupporting major research advances, making possible state-of-the-art medical and research facilities, and creating commercial successes and jobs. StemCONN 2021 demonstrates the success of bioscience as a vehicle for medical progress and economic growth by emphasizing the power of academia-industry partnerships and faculty entrepreneurship through biotech startups as a means to effectively move scientific discovery to clinical applications. Science education is a critical part of StemCONNs mission.We welcome scientific trainees including high school students, college students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research associates. Registrants will have a special opportunity to meet with most of our invited speakers through afternoon Meet the Expert sessions. Two trainees will be honored with the Milton B. Wallack Trainee Award for Excellence in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research. We thank all of our conference sponsors for their generous financial support. Please look through the sponsor list for the names of these contributors, and during the breaks, and please be sureto access our Sponsors content on our website StemCONN.org. Thanks also to my colleagues on the StemCONN 2021 organizing committee for their enduring commitment and contributions to planning this conference. Have a great conferenceand remember the essence of science is asking questions and seeking answersso ask a question at StemCONN 2021 today! Diane Krause, M.D., Ph.D.Chair StemCONN 2021 Organizing Committee'