Harvard Faculty Council Backs New Undergraduate Stem Cell Concentration

The Faculty Council unanimously approved a proposal yesterday for a new concentration focusing on the development and regeneration of the human body.

The proposal from the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology will now go before the Faculty for full passage.

The concentration, called “Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology,” will focus on how human beings develop from a fertilized egg, how humans are maintained and repaired throughout adulthood, and how they age until death, according to William J. Anderson, lecturer on stem cell and regenerative biology.

Anderson hopes the concentration will launch next fall so that current freshmen will be able to declare a concentration in HDRB.

“What we’re probably going to do is accept sophomores first—just to ramp into it a little easier—and then open it up to anyone who would like to transfer in after that,” Anderson said.

With its emphasis on hands-on research, the concentration would encourage students to undertake “novel, scholarly, ambitious projects” as opposed to merely learning about what others have done, professor of natural sciences Douglas Melton said.

In addition to the vote on the HDRB concentration, yesterday’s Council agenda addressed University President Drew G. Faust’s recent letter to the Harvard community about the state of its finances.

When Dean of the Faculty Michael D. Smith opened the discussion to questions from the Council, staffing and salary concerns emerged as central issues.

Additionally, the discussion reiterated that the University will continue to honor its Financial Aid Initiative for this academic year, which was later confirmed in an e-mailed statement from Sally C. Donahue, director of financial aid.

Though the Financial Aid Office anticipates an increase in the number of families who request additional assistance this year, Donahue said the office will receive student appeals for mid-year reconsideration of financial aid packages, as has been done in the past.

“We are fortunate to be able to respond to documented changes in family circumstances,” Donahue said. “There are always unexpected financial events that occur in the lives of students and families that affect their ability to finance education.”

—Staff writer Benjamin M. Jaffe can be reached at

—Staff writer Esther I. Yi can be reached at

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