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How Single Cells Build Complex Organs

Ernst Schering Foundation awards Friedmund Neumann Prize 2016 to junior scientist Barbara Treutlein for her outstanding work on single cell transcriptomics analysis

During human development, stem cells differentiate into many different cell types that build and determine the function of complex organs. Previous studies have provided only limited insights into the genetic programs that control organ development. By adapting the methodology of single cell transcriptomics analysis, junior scientist Dr. Barbara Treutlein from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig for the first time made it possible to perform genome-wide measurements of genetic expression in unprecedented resolution on the single cell level. In her research, she applies this method to understand the genetic foundations of organogenesis, i.e. the process by which cells differentiate into organs, and to make possible their in-vitro recreation under controlled conditions. In her lab, Dr. Treutlein grows hepatic and cerebral organoids and compares them with real organ tissue.