Stem-Cell Research: The Quest Resumes

After eight years of political ostracism, stem-cell scientists like Harvard's Douglas Melton are coming back into the light — and making discoveries that may soon bring lifesaving breakthroughs

Gregory Heisler for TIME

Even during the dark days of the Bush Administration's stem-cell restrictions, Melton helped keep the field going, culturing cells and getting them into labs.

Scientific inspiration can come from anywhere — a person, an event, even an experiment gone awry. But perhaps nothing can drive innovation more powerfully than the passion born of tragedy. Or, in Douglas Melton's case, near tragedy. The co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) is one of the leading figures in the search for cures for presently incurable diseases, and his breakthrough work is challenging many long-held beliefs about the ways biology and human development work.

But it was a very personal experience that brought Melton to stem cells, one that 17 years later...

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