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How lab-grown brain cells can now help us understand brain disorders

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Brain Hacks.

Neuroscientists have long been frustrated that they cannot access or examine brain tissue. But by reserve-engineering cells in the lab, Sergiu Pașca can now study brain disorders on a molecular level.

About Sergiu Pașca

Sergiu Pașca is a professor at Stanford and founding director of Stanford Brain Organogenesis. A physician by training, Pașca developed some of the first petri dish models of disease by deriving neurons from skin cells taken from patients with genetic brain disorders. His lab developed regionalized neural organoids and pioneered a modular platform known as assembloids to study the wiring of the human brain.

His work was hailed as the "leading edge of stem-cell research" by Nature. He has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Vilcek Award for Creative Biomedical Promise in 2018, the American Philosophical Society's Judson Daland Prize in 2021 and the IBRO-Kemali Neuroscience Award in 2022.

This segment of the TED Radio Hour was produced by Fiona Geiran and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour and Manoush Zomorodi. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHour and email us at TEDRadioHour@npr.org.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.