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Sally Kwok, PhD


Verily Life Sciences

A Path to Understanding Brain Disorders: Making neurons from skin cells


The recent advent of technologies that enable adult human somatic cells to be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) for the generation of multiple cell types have provided a unique opportunity to investigate many cellular processes in developmental and disease state. Using a brain disorder, Rett Syndrome (RS), as an example, I will illustrate how iPSCs technology enable us to gain insight into important aspects of central nervous system (CNS) function at a cellular level. Also included in this discussion will be a review of limitations of this technology.

Meet the Speaker:

Sally received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yasunori Hayashi's lab at MIT in 2009. Her doctoral thesis focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that underpin learning and memory. Upon graduation, Sally decided to study brain disorders that affect children. As a Simons Foundation postdoctoral fellow, she used a new type of stem cells called induced pluripotent stem cells to model Rett Syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder that almost exclusively affects girls. After moving to CA, she first joined a startup company that focuses on pediatric mitochondria disorders. Currently, Sally is a scientist at Verily Life Sciences.

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