Human stem cells for drug discovery
Dr Nicola Beer heads up the Department of Stem Cell Engineering at the new Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford. Her team will use human stem cells to derive metabolically-relevant cells and tissues such as islets, hepatocytes, and adipocytes to discover novel secreted factors and corresponding signaling pathways which modify cell function, health, and viability. By combining in vitro-differentiated human stem cell-derived models with CRISPR and other genomic targeting techniques, the team assay cell function from changes in a single gene up to a genome-wide scale. Understanding the genes and pathways underlying cell function (and dysfunction) highlights potential targets for new Type 2 Diabetes therapeutics. Dr Beer will talk about the work ongoing in her team, as well as more broadly about the role of human stem cells in drug discovery and patient treatment.