Dr. Ru Gunawardane is the Executive Director at the Allen Institute for Cell Science. She leads a group of researchers creating a collection of high-quality gene edited stem cell lines to study cell organization and activities through live cell imaging. Dr. Katylyn Gerbin is a Scientist at the Allen Institute, whose work focuses on implementing cardiac differentiation methods and developing the cardiomyocyte pipeline using gene-edited hiPSCs. They discuss the Institute’s mission to understand the fundamentals of how cells work, how they generate their gene-edited stem cell lines, and their recent work tracking cell states in hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes.
Dr. Ilyas Singeç is the Director of the Stem Cell Translation Laboratory at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, where he leads a group of scientists working to address efficiency, reproducibility, scalability, and other roadblocks in the translation of iPSCs into therapies. He discusses the standardization of stem cell differentiation, high-throughput cell culture, personalized medicine, and the potential for biomanufacturing in space.
Dr. Sara Wickström is the Sigrid Juselius Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Helsinki, and was recently appointed as the new Director of Cell and Tissue Dynamics at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine. Her research focuses on how mechanical forces act in collaboration with cellular signals to influence cell fate and position. She discusses her work on mechanotransduction and its applications for cell culture and organ engineering, as well as her research on the hair follicle stem cell niche. She also talks about running an interdisciplinary lab, and what could make academia a more attractive career path.
Dr. Christine Mummery is a Professor of Developmental Biology at the Leiden University Medical Center and the former President of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. She pioneered studies on cardiomyocytes from human embryonic stem cells and was among the first to inject them in mouse hearts after myocardial infarction. She talks about her recent research developing multi-lineage cardiac model systems like microtissues and organ-chips.
Dr. Kate Rubins is a NASA astronaut and microbiologist. She has completed two expeditions to the International Space Station and spent 300 days in space. She became the first person to sequence DNA in space in 2016, and grew cardiomyocytes in cell culture (in collaboration with Arun in Joseph Wu’s lab at Stanford) while in orbit. She has a PhD in Cancer Biology from Stanford University and studied viral diseases as a Fellow/Principal Investigator at the Whitehead Institute.