Maristem - stem cells of marine/aquatic invertebrates: From basic research to innovative applications

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the author.


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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