The Sci-Files – 08/29/2021 – Yoni Lewis Israeli – Growing Mini Hearts with Stem Cells

Chelsie Boodoo and Daniel Puentes

Yoni Lewis Israeli
Yoni Lewis Israeli

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Yoni Lewis Israeli. Heart disease is a leading cause of death around the world, and heart defects at birth are the most common of all birth defects in humans. Modeling the developing human heart in the lab using 3D heart organoids (or miniature hearts) allows access to developmental stages that cannot be studied in humans. Yoni’s research focus is on creating heart organoids from human stem cells. Unlike previous models of the heart, these organoids have all the major types of cells that are present in the human heart, and they develop internal chambers as well as a vessel-like network. These organoids can be used as tools to provide new insight into human heart development. They also allow him to investigate the onset of diseases that affect human fetal heart development. For example, he is currently looking into the effect of diabetes during pregnancy which is known to increase the risk of congenital heart defects in humans. This organoid system allows him to both investigate the causes of these defects, and also screen for potential therapeutic agents. You can read more about his research here.
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