Marta – Neuroscience, MSc

Have you ever had a small burn or a papercut and asked yourself how does it heal by itself? The answer is: ✨stem cells✨

Stem cells are cells in our body that can divide and give rise to other more specialized cells. There are several categories of stem cells, depending on how many types of specialized cells they can give rise to. The ones in charge of healing a wound in your skin only give rise to different components of this tissue. However, there are cells in several stages of our development which can give rise to all the cell types in our body. Unfortunately, these are no longer present in adults. Almost 20 years ago, scientists 👨‍🔬👩‍🔬 found the way to turn regular, specialized cells, into these highly potent stem cells. They were called induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, or iPSCs. This meant that with only a small, easy to take sample from a patient, we could get cells that could turn into any other type of cell that they had in their body.

But how does a Spanish girl come into the equation 🤔? Hi, my name is Marta, I am a biochemist 🧬 from Murcia 🍋 and I am currently enrolled in the Master’s programme in Neuroscience of the University of Helsinki 🇫🇮🐻. I was awarded one of the HiLIFE trainee research scholarships and thanks to it I am doing my internship in the Neurovascular Research group🩸🔬.

Using these patient-derived iPSCs, I am helping in the development of a 3D-cell culture model which we hope can recreate neural, immune and vascular aspects of a real human brain 🧠. This kind of model would allow us to study human brain disorders in systems that share their genetic make-up with the patients they are derived from. This not only means a model with more human characteristics, but an opportunity for easier and more effective drug testing 💊.

I am thrilled to be involved in this project, as I believe it is not only exciting, but very promising for future research. Stay tuned for updates on my traineeship journey! 💅🥼


You can also view this introduction in Instagram: (posted February 14, 2024).