Carol Marchetto, Ph.D.
Carol Marchetto, Ph.D., is a Senior Staff Scientist in the Laboratory of Dr. Fred Gage at The Salk Institute. Carol is specifically involved in understanding the mechanisms by which human embryonic stem cells (HESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) become a fully developed functional neuron. Moreover, Carol is currently studying the behavior of different subtypes of human neurons in the neurodegenerative/ neurodevelopmental diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Elucidation of those mechanisms may shed a light on the unique plasticity in the human central nervous system and may help to develop strategies for drug screen platforms and potential therapy candidates for neurologic diseases. Carol is also interested in understanding why our brains are so different from our closest relatives (chimpanzees) and uses iPSC technology to study the neural cells from several non-human primate species and compare their behavior with neurons derived from human cells. Carol obtained her Ph.D. degree in Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Sao Paulo (USP), in the laboratory of Dr. Carlos Menck. Her Ph.D. thesis showed the use of gene therapy to revert the cancerous phenotype of skin cancer cells.
Your Brain Under the Microscope: The Promise of Stem Cells
Until recently, scientists primarily worked with two kinds of stem cells from animals and humans: embryonic stem cells and non-embryonic “somatic” or “adult” stem cells. Scientists are just now beginning to improve their understanding of a third kind: induced pluripotent stem cells. Our authors describe how they were discovered, what they are, and why a growing number of researchers and clinicians believe that they may be one of the keys in helping address various brain disorders.