NIH Training Program

Stem Cell Engineering represents the convergence of the biological and physical sciences, engineering, and ethics and law. Our interdisciplinary Stem Cell Biological Engineering program funded by the National Institutes of Health was established in 2011 to formally organize new training opportunities in stem cell biological engineering, while dissolving traditional academic barriers to interdisciplinary graduate science education. Fellows are supported for 24 months, in the 2nd and 3rd years of their doctoral studies.

This program provides pre-doctoral training opportunities in the biology of stem cells and its application to the enhancement of human health. Program participants work at the interface of biology and engineering, preparing them to be leaders in academia and industry. A three-month industrial internship experience is a key facet of this program.

Program Leadership

Dr. David Schaffer
Program Director
Professor
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
Director, Berkeley Stem Cell Center
  Dr. Kevin Healy
Program Director
Professor
Bioengineering, and
Materials Science and Engineering
Chair, Department of Bioenginnering

 

2016-17 Stem Cell Biological Engineering Fellows

Christina Fuentes

Retinitis Pigmentosa is a set of genetically inherited neurodegenerative disorders that lead to the degeneration of photoreceptor neurons and ultimately the loss of vision. Currently there are no interventions to prevent disease progression in the eye or cure blindness. Cell replacement therapies using human pluripotent stem cells have emerged as a promising therapeutic for treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa by repopulating and replenishing damaged tissue. However, inefficient retinal lineage commitment, and poor survival and integration upon implantation have become major barriers preventing the clinical use of cell replacement therapies. My research project aims to address these issues by using 3D hydrogels for effective differentiation and implantation of photoreceptor neurons to treat blinding diseases.

Tiama Hamkins-Indik

Dysfunction and leakiness in vasculature due to breakdown in tight junctions are associated with many known diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s. The tight junction protein ZO-1 is implicated in transducing force at cell junctions in endothelial cells, and its absence leads to embryonic lethality in mouse models. However, its function during differentiation is unknown. I am using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to test the hypothesis that ZO-1 serves as a mechanosensor to direct endothelial cell differentiation.

Alec Heckert

Retinitis Pigmentosa is a set of genetically inherited neurodegenerative disorders that lead to the degeneration of photoreceptor neurons and ultimately the loss of vision. Currently there are no interventions to prevent disease progression in the eye or cure blindness. Cell replacement therapies using human pluripotent stem cells have emerged as a promising therapeutic for treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa by repopulating and replenishing damaged tissue. However, inefficient retinal lineage commitment, and poor survival and integration upon implantation have become major barriers preventing the clinical use of cell replacement therapies. My research project aims to address these issues by using 3D hydrogels for effective differentiation and implantation of photoreceptor neurons to treat blinding diseases.

Shaheen Jeeawoody

Protein post-translational modifications, including phosphorylation, alter the activity, function, regulation, and degradation of a protein. Single-cell resolution is essential to comprehend the intricacies inherent in protein expression of any cell population. My project seeks to measure protein phosphorylation in individual cells, and to use this quantitative technique to assess the phenotype and function of hiPS-CMs, a heterogenous stem-cell derived population of cardiomyocytes, fibroblasts, and cardiac progenitor cells at varying stages of maturation.

 

Program Information