Lisa is a Senior Research Technologist at STEMCELL Technologies in Cambridge. She is from Kwa-Zulu Natal, a South African province on the East Coast. She studied Human Life Sciences at Stellenbosch University, where she went on to complete a Master’s in Biochemistry. Her project centred around cancer research with a specific focus on ethnomedicine. The main focus being on the effect of Salsola Tuberculatiformis Bostchantev, more commonly known as Gannabos, a medicinal plant used by the native San tribes, on the Androgen and Glucocorticoid Receptors in Prostate Cancer Cell Lines. The main aim was to determine a novel, natural compound that could be used to treat Prostate Cancer by activating apoptosis in the cancerous cells. After this, she relocated to the United Kingdom to pursue a career in medical research.
During the GUTVIBRATIONS project, she will be supervised by Dr. Alessandro Dei and Dr. Salvatore Simmini.
Lisa is currently working at STEMCELL Technologies in Cambridge in the Research and Development Department. Her position entails growing and maintaining 3D organoid culture systems derived from both primary tissues and Human Pluripotent Stem Cells (hPSCs), and to study the interactions of co-culture systems, while optimizing new media formulations for these cell cultures. She will be involved in the construction of the complex BBB-brain model that will closely resemble the in vivo physiology of the structural and chemical barrier between the systemic blood circulation and the brain components.
The development of a complete BBB-brain model is important as the BBB specificities, characteristics, and functioning are mainly induced, maintained, and altered by brain cells in its vicinity. As such, Lisa will aid in building upon previously developed models and expertise to create a complex BBB-brain model that will be suitable for pathogenesis studies. She will create an iPSC-derived standardized in vitro BBB model using partly available protocols and developing novel media for differentiation of iPSCs into specifically functioning cells that are detected in an in vivo human BBB environment.
In order to help in this project, she will focus on the development of a human BBB model containing human brain endothelial cells, linked by pericytes, astrocytes, and microglia within a Biosilk network, by using established, standardized, and commercialized experimental methods to generate these individual cell types as well as neural organoids and then constructing a BBB-brain model by combining the BBB model and brain organoids within a STACKS platform, while developing specialized media for the human BBB and combined BBB-brain models.
STEMCELL Technologies Inc. is a privately-owned biotechnology company based in Vancouver that helps power leading-edge life science research around the world. Scientists performing stem cell, immunology, cancer, regenerative medicine and cellular therapy research are among those who rely on our cell culture media, cell separation products, instruments, ancillary reagents and contract assay services. We create novel, useful, standardized products of unfailing quality and deliver them to more than 70 countries via our many regional offices plus distribution centres in Vancouver, Seattle, Grenoble and Singapore. Driven by our love of science and our passion for quality, we see ourselves simply as “Scientists Helping Scientists” – standing by our customers to provide outstanding products, technical support and training. We have over 1000 science-oriented employees globally, including 250 PhDs/MScs, with most others holding a BSc or engineering degree. STEMCELL is proud to be the largest Biotechnology employer in Canada.
STEMCELL is continuing to expand its European operations, particularly in the areas of R&D personnel and facilities, manufacturing, quality control, quality assurance and regulatory activities that will meet the highest levels of European research and regular standards. STEMCELL UK Ltd. (STUK) was established in July 2014. In 2016 STUK expanded its capabilities to include research and development (R&D) with staff located in laboratory space in Cambridge, UK, including fully functional laboratory space containing state of the art cell culture and analytical chemistry equipment as well as an ISO 13485-certified manufacturing clean room that is adopting single use technology and closed systems for manufacturing higher compliance media and culture reagents.