The Stem Cell Channel
Stem cell science is changing medicine and our understanding of human development. The Stem Cell Channel takes you into the labs where cutting edge-research takes place, introduces you to the scientists leading the way, and breaks down how these amazing discoveries impact everyday life and health.
Working with Natural Born Killers: Using Natural Killer Cells to Improve Cancer Immunotherapies
11/19/2019
Natural Killer - or NK - cells are one of our immune systems most potent defenses, able to attack viral infections and destroy cells that exhibit tumorigenic characteristics. UC San Diego physician Dr. Dan Kaufman, who has specialized in treating blood cancers for over 20 years now leads a research group at the UC San Diego Stem Cell program that is using induced pluripotent stem cells to generate NK cells that are targeted to destroy cancer cells. With the goal of providing...
The Ethics of Brain Organoids with Alysson Muotri, Christof Koch, Patricia Churchland, and Evan Thompson
11/17/2019
Leading voices in philosophy and neuroscience wrap up a conference on the ethics of research using brain organoids with questions from the audience. Panelists: Christof Koch, Chief Scientist and President of the Allen Institute for Brain Science; Patricia Churchland, Emerita Professor, UC San Diego;
Evan Thompson, Professor of Philosophy, University of British Columbia; and Alysson Muotri, Director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell program.
Recorded on 10/04/2019.
Sensory Implications of Brain Organoids with Patricia Churchland
11/8/2019
What defines consciousness? Can it develop in a petri dish? Patricia Churchland reviews the current state of brain organoid research and shares her views on how conciseness and physical structures within the brain intersect. She also cautions the media on the tendency to "over hype" new research advances. Recorded on 10/04/2019.
Neural Organoids Are Not Brains in Vats with Evan Thompson
11/8/2019
Recently, some scientists have asked whether neural organoids will ever be conscious, and have wondered about the ethical implications of this possibility. Meanwhile, some philosophers have argued that neural organoids are miniature versions of "brains in vats." Evan Thompson feels that both scientist and philosophers should shift their thinking. He argues that the minimal instantiation of sentience is organismic - not just neuronal, and that conscious processes of...
Consciousness in Cerebral Organoids - How Would We Know? with Christof Koch
11/2/2019
As brain organoids become more widely used in research, concerns about the development of consciousness arise. Christof Koch discusses how we determine and define consciousness and how we look for the underlying physical signatures of consciousness. Recorded on 10/04/2019.
The Current Status of Human Brain Organoids Research with Alysson Muotri and Larry Goldstein
11/1/2019
The study of brain organoids is leading to a better understanding of human development and potential therapies for neurological disorders. Yet when people hear the phrase "brain in a dish" it instantly brings to mind the stuff of science fiction - labs full of sentient brains thinking and plotting. Alysson Muotri explains why these organoids should not called "brains in a dish" and how they are being used to explain human processes previously inaccessible to...
Stem Cells to the Rescue: Saving the Northern White Rhino from Extinction
10/29/2019
There are only two Northern White Rhinos left on the planet. How can we reverse extinction to save them and use the lessons learned to help other endangered species? Marisa L. Korody, PhD of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research shares how scientists are using the latest in stem cell technology for a genetic rescue.
How to Make a Neuron and How Pioneer Factors May Find Their Targets
10/7/2019
Marius Wernig, MD, PhD, discusses how his lab has worked to convert non-neuronal cell types (lymphocytes, pluripotent stem cells, fibroblasts, hepatocytes, lymphocytes) to neurons. The lab is now working on identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying induced lineage fate changes, the phenotypic consequences of disease-causing mutations in human neurons and other neural lineages.
Making Pluripotent Stem Cells
9/13/2019
With the capacity to form any tissue in the human body, induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs, are critical to the work of the UC San Diego Stem Cell program in studying disease and potential cures - but how are they made? This short primer outlines the basic steps to how these special cells are derived.
Beginnings in the Brain: Complex Oscillatory Waves Emerging from Cortical Organoids Model Early Human Brain Network Development
8/28/2019
A detailed overview of a study conducted by Alysson Muotri's lab at the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program which found complex network signaling developing in human cortical organoids that appear to recapitulate fetal brain development, offering an in-vitro model to study functional development of human neuronal networks.
Making Brain Organoids: A Primer
7/31/2019
Brain organoids, or cortical organoids, hold much promise in finding interventions for neurological conditions, and have already proven useful in understanding the effects of Zika and rare neurological syndromes such as AGS. But how are they made? UC San Diego Stem Cell program project scientist Cleber Trujillo provides a brief overview of how the Muotri lab nurtures pluripotent stem cells into becoming brain organoids.
3D Printing with Stem Cells - Shaochen Chen
7/29/2019
Bioengineer Shaochen Chen has developed a method of 3D printing live human tissue that could one day be used to heal damaged spinal cords, hearts, and other vital organs. And, because his technology uses stem cells, the transplant tissue can be patient specific. Now, he's using his technique to help researchers Alysson Muotri and Karl Wahlin understand brain and eye development.
Mouse and Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Models of Autism Associated with
Early Brain Overgrowth
7/25/2019
Tony Wynshaw-Boris, MD, PhD describes his lab's efforts to use mouse and IPSC models to find commonalities that give insight into the complex disorder of autism.
Neurobot: Robotics Meets Stem Cells
7/16/2019
High school student Christopher Caligiuri teams up with renowned stem cell researcher Alysson Muotri to build a robot that interprets signals from lab-grown mini-brains.
Connecting Stem Cell-Derived Brain and Eye Models with 3D Printing
7/10/2019
Top scientists are growing miniature brains and retinas from stem cells in their labs, and connecting them with 3D printed tissue. The team is hoping to gain new insight into the earliest stages of brain and eye development, in order to cure a whole host of diseases.
Stem Cells and Curing Blindness - Karl Wahlin
7/2/2019
Scientist Karl Wahlin is hoping to use the tiny retinas he's developed from stem cells to find a cure for blindness. Wahlin has teamed up with UC San Diego Stem Cell Program Director Alysson Muotri, who is using a similar technique to study the brain. Together, they hope to understand how the brain and the eye influence one another's development.
Gene Edited Cells: Next Generation of Cancer Therapeutics
6/30/2019
Khalid Shah, MS, PhD discusses translating biological therapies into clinical care.
Building The Brain With Alysson Muotri
6/22/2019
Alysson Muotri, Director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell program explores the many ways his and other labs are using brain organoids to understand neurodevelopment.
When Science Meets Fiction - Alysson Muotri, Tim Disney and the Movie "William"
6/15/2019
The science of stem cells allows us to understand our genome by comparing our own genome to that of our ancient cousins – the Neanderthal.

The motion picture William is a story about a Neanderthal living among modern humans. The director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program Alysson Muotri was able to visit with the creator and director, Tim Disney, to discuss the real issues explored by this fantasy.
Neanderthal Among Us? Science Meets Fiction - A Discussion of Tim Disney's Motion Picture "William"
6/8/2019
What makes us human is a question that not only science asks, but all disciplines of mind from philosophy to religion to sociology and ethics, and even to storytelling and the arts. Tim Disney's new movie "William", about a Neanderthal living in the modern world forces us to ask that and many other questions. Director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program Alysson Muotri brought together a panel of experts from across a spectrum of disciplines to discuss those issues in...
 

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