Kevin Healy, UC Berkeley, to Speak On hiPS Cells at Tissue Models Conf., May 6-7, 2014, Berlin

Top Quote Kevin Healy will give a presentation entitled "Disease-Specific Integrated Microphysiological Human Tissue Models" at the Tissue Models & Drug Screening Conference, to be held May 6-7, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) February 19, 2014 - Drug discovery and development is hampered by high failure rates that are attributed to a reliance on non-human animal models employed during safety and efficacy testing. A fundamental problem in this process is that non-human animal models cannot adequately represent human biology and, more importantly, they poorly recapitulate human disease states. With the discovery of patient-specific human induced pluripotent stem (hiPS) cells, the tissue engineering community is now in position to develop in vitro disease specific model tissues to be used for high-content drug screening and patient-specific medicine. Ideally these models, when organized into a single integrated physiological system, could have an enormous impact on the early screening of candidate drugs.

    Professor Healy will discuss his lab's progress in developing integrated in vitro models of human cardiac and liver tissue based on microtissue models of human ventricular myocardium and liver derived from populations of normal and patient specific hiPS cells differentiated into cardiomyocytes or hepatocytes. The lab chose the heart and liver as model systems in particular because failed candidate drugs are most often associated with toxicity or dysfunction of one of these organs. This in vitro integrated physiological system has the potential to significantly reduce both the cost and duration of bringing a new drug candidate to market.

    Professor Healy will share how his lab's approach allows for: a robust and reproducible platform that embodies precision microengineering to create better microtissue environments; the precise delivery of molecules (e.g., drugs) in a computationally predictable manner; the ability to model human cardiomyopathy; and a cost-efficient and high content characterization of cardiac and liver tissue drug response.

    Dr. Healy is the Jan Fandrianto Distinguished Professor in Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in the Departments of Bioengineering and Materials Science and Engineering, and serves as Chair of the Department of Bioengineering as well. His research interests include the design and synthesis of bioinspired materials that actively direct the fate of stem cells and facilitate regeneration of damaged tissues and organs. Major discoveries from his laboratory have centered on the control of cell fate and tissue formation in contract with materials that are tunable in both their biological content and mechanical properties.

    For more information about the conference, please visit

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