In 2012, John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka shared the Nobel Prize for the demonstration that the identity of differentiated cells is not irreversibly determined but can be changed back to a pluripotent state under appropriate instructive signals. The principle that differentiated cells can revert to an embryonic state and even be converted directly from one cell type into another not only turns fundamental principles of development on their heads but also has profound implications for regenerative medicine. Replacement of diseased tissue with newly reprogrammed cells and modeling of human disease are concrete opportunities. Here, we focus on the central nervous system to consider whether and how reprogramming of cell identity may affect regeneration and modeling of a system historically considered immutable and hardwired.

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Photo of Paola Arlotta

Dr. Arlotta is interested in understanding the molecular laws that govern the birth, differentiation and assembly of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that controls how we sense, move and think. She integrates developmental and evolutionary knowledge to investigate therapies for brain repair and for modeling neuropsychiatric disease.

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