Skip to main content

Interview With Dr.Susan Fisher

by Julia McKeag, Terra Linda HS

Susan Fisher, Ph.D. is the Director of Translational Research in Perinatal Biology and Medicine at UCSF. She is also a Professor in the Departments of Oral Biology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Anatomy and Faculty Director at the Biomolecular Resource Center, UCSF. She is also a member of the UCSF Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (BMS).
(Figure 1- refer to end of interview) 

What type of experiments does your lab do?
We study the early stages of human development. One of the approaches we use includes deriving human embryonic stem cell lines.

How did you become interested in stem cell research?
Stem cell research is rooted in developmental biology, which I have been interested in for as long as I can remember. I have always been fascinated by how one cell becomes an entire human being.

How do you think stem cell research will benefit humanity?
Eventually we will understand how to cure human diseases using cell-based therapies.
(Figure 2)
Do you think Stem cell research will continue in the future despite its surrounding controversy?
Yes. We have learned so much already using stem cell models. This is a very compelling reason for continuing these lines of investigation.

Are animal stem cells similar in structure and function to human stem cells?
There is not a clear-cut answer to this question. We know from comparative analyses that there are similarities and differences. My personal conclusion is that work in both areas is important.
(Figure 3)
What is the most interesting thing you've discovered about stem cells during your research?
We have developed a new method of deriving human embryonic stem cells that appear to be less differentiated than analogous cells derived by standard methods.

What is an average day as the Director of Translational Research in Prenatal Biology and Medicine at UCSF like? What does this position entail?
I am also head of the UCSF Human Embryonic Stem Cell Program. as Director of Translational Research, I lead programs in which we study placental function in normal pregnancy and in pregnancy complications. My job in the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Program focuses on embryonic rather than placental development. Therefore, between both jobs I get to study the cells that form the placenta and the offspring, which it supports. The work is mesmerizing and extremely rewarding! We get to ask questions about processes that very few people get to study.

Figure 1: Human Embryonic Stem Cells- in a recent medical case, Doctors at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital grew stem cells into neural stem cells, then injected them into a stroke patient's brain

Figure 2: Cluster of Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Figure 3: Humans, Animals, and Plants have clusters of stem cells that sustain growth and replace damaged tissues.  

Join Dr. Fisher and Marin Science Seminar this Wednesday to learn more!

Wednesday, March 28th
From 7:30 to 8:30pm
Terra Linda High School
Room 207

Julia McKeag

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Bacteria, Botulism, and Beauty

--> By Talya Klinger, MSS Intern
What do foodborne illnesses, neck dystonia treatments, and celebrities’ beauty regimens have in common? Clostridium botulinum, baratii, and other species of Clostridium bacteria produce all of the above and more. These seemingly innocuous, rod-shaped bacteria, commonly found in soil and in the intestinal tracts of fish and mammals, produce one of the most deadly biological substances: botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin that intercepts neurotransmitters and paralyzes muscles in the disease known as botulism. Nonetheless, botulinum toxin isn’t all bad: this chemical not only protects the bacteria from intense heat and high acidity, but it makes for an effective treatment for medical conditions as wide-ranging as muscle spasms, chronic migraines, and, yes, wrinkles. 

Clostridium botulinum and similar bacteria can make their way into the human body in a number of ways. Wounds infected with Clostridium botulinum or spores ingested by infants can lead to …

An Interview With Diara Spain, Ph.D

By Rachael Metzger, MSS Intern

Ocean acidification is an issue becoming apparent in the effects on both sea creatures and humans. Diara Spain, the Associate Professor of Biology at Dominican University, came to Marin Science Seminar to talk to us about her studies in marine invertebrates and the damage ocean acidification is causing them. 

To learn more about Diara Spain and what inspired her studies we conducted an interview:

1. How did you get interested in biology? Is there a time, event, 
or person in your life that inspired you to pursue the study? I've always been interested in biology, really science in general. I grew up in rural North Carolina and as a kid it was expected that you'd spend most of your free time outside playing with your friends and pets.  One thing that sparked my interest in marine organisms were the summer vacations at the undeveloped beaches in North Carolina. 
2. Why did you specifically decide to focus on functional morphology, locomotion in echinode…

Invention in Medicine this Wed. 10/26/16

Marin Science Seminar for Teens & Community Presents Invention in Medicine How Medical Devices get Invented and Go to Market with Art Wallace MD PhD of UCSF & VAMC SF
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 7:30 - 8:30 pm Terra Linda High School, Room 207 320 Nova Albion, San Rafael, CA 94903 

Art Wallace started out in experimental surgery and radiology studying imaging of the heart using CT
scanners. He has worked on a number of devices that originally were built for experimental studies that evolved into clinically useful devices including a cardiac output monitor, the off pump CABG, off pump aneurysm surgery, electronic sedation, and a selective coronary vasodialtor. Dr. Wallace will explain his experiences with the inventive process using examples from both device design and drug development. There will be a brief discussion of the importance of intellectual property, patents, venture capital, FDA approval, and business development in completing the invention process. There will …