Dr. Jacob Hanna is an Associate Professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science. His lab investigates cellular reprogramming and embryogenesis. He talks about the challenges of growing synthetic embryo models in a roller culture system and the feasibility of making human gametes. He also discusses his startup, Renewal Bio, the ethical discussions surrounding stem cell-derived embryos, and creating a more inclusive and equitable scientific community.
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Dr. Prisca Liberali is Senior Group Leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research and an Assistant Professor at the University of Basel. Her research aims to understand the collective properties of organoid systems and their patterns, including how these systems allow systematic perturbation by established methods for modulating gene expression. She studies self-organization, symmetry breaking, intestinal organoid development, gastruloids, and mechanosensing mechanisms.
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Drs. Tenneille Ludwig, Peter Andrews, and Madeline Lancaster are members of the ISSCR Standards Initiative for Pluripotent Stem Cell Research. They discuss the need for basic and preclinical standards to ensure rigor and reproducibility in stem cell research. They also talk about standards for pluripotency and model systems, and the initiative’s international focus.
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Dr. Agnete Kirkeby is an Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen and a Group Leader at Lund University. The Kirkeby group studies the factors involved in human neural subtype specification in order to enable production of specific neurons for understanding and treating neurological diseases. They apply advanced human stem cells models to understand how hundreds of human neuronal subtypes are formed during embryo development. She talks about moving stem cell therapies for Parkinson’s disease from animal models to clinical trials, modeling neural tube development, and developing treatments for narcolepsy.
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Dr. Mingxia Gu is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Her lab’s goal is to develop novel therapies for the regeneration of the heart, lung, and vasculature in patients with congenital cardiac and pulmonary defects. She talks about developing lung organoids to study COVID-19, how multi-lineage organoids can mimic human tissues, and her lab’s motto to “move fast and break things.”
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