Published on Mar 4, 2014 – (Future Day: March 1st, Melbourne Australia) Dr Mirella Dottori talks about the current laws, research, and the future surrounding stem cells, filmed by Adam Ford.
Dr Mirella Dottori completed her PhD studies at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, University of Melbourne. She then undertook her postdoctoral studies at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, USA, where she was studying development of the spinal cord and neural crest. She then returned to Australia as a NHMRC Howard Florey Fellow where she joined Professor Martin Pera’s group at Monash University working on human embryonic stem cells. In 2007, Dr Dottori established a Stem Cell Laboratory at the Centre for Neuroscience Research, University of Melbourne. The major focus of her research is studying human pluripotent stem cells and their differentiation to specific neuronal lineages. Her research objectives are to create human cellular models of neural development and neurodegenerative diseases and also to develop stem cell therapies to promote regeneration within the nervous system.
== Research interests
The main focus of our research is to use human embryonic stem (hES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells as in vitro models for understanding the processes and signals involved in neural differentiation and neurodegeneration. In recent years, stem cell biology is one of the most rapidly advancing areas of medical research. IPS cells can now be generated from human biopsy tissue and this technology allows the possibility of generating patient-specific stem cells that may be used for developing cell replacement therapies as well as in vitro human cellular models of disease. To reach these objectives, it is critical to establish robust differentiation assay systems to derive specific lineages. In our laboratory we have developed efficient systems differentiating human pluripotent stem cells to early neural progenitor cells fated towards lineages of the central and peripheral nervous system. Generation of specific neural and glial lineages from human stem cells can now be utilized for developing therapies to treat neurodegenerative disorders.