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Nina Tandon: Winnovating Skin Cells

Posted on May 20, 2013 by in Science, STEM | 0 comments

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In the future, whole systems can be created from skin cells to test exactly how a drug will react in a human. 

There are moments when I stumble upon a story or a study that make me wish that instead of pursuing international relations, I had ended up at med school and a research lab. Then I remember that chemistry, and more specifically, organic chemistry is involved and I have nightmarish flashbacks to sophomore year chem in high school and I snap back to reality.  Usually this all happens without involuntarily screaming in horror anymore.

Watching Nina Tandon’s TED talk however, is one of those moments. Y’all, these scientists are taking skin cells, adding genetics, turning them into stem cells and THEN creating all sorts of tissue samples from them.  As if that wasn’t mind blowing enough, these tissue samples are eventually used to study specific diseases, and will be perfect test models for future drugs.  In the future, whole systems can be created from skin cells to test exactly how a drug will react in a human.  As a result, we’ll have a lot less Lipitor scandals and a lot less animal testing – which, ugh, those poor rats just make me sad.

A Fulbright Scholar, Ms. Tandon is an engineer who is focused on electrical signaling in tissue engineering. Her work focuses on heart and bone tissues and she’s developed ways to make these tissues feel right at home in a lab so they’re ready to go in her research.  Watch her TED talk below, and check out more of her work at ninatandon.com.

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Jessie Koerner

Jessie Koerner is the social media manager for Winnovating. When she's not on Twitter - her favorite way to overshare - you can find her riding her horses, planning future travels, or baking cupcakes. With an M.A. in global health and international security, Jessie is committed to finding ways to make this world a better place. Follow her @PearlsandSpurs on Instagram and Twitter.