BME Lecture Series: Todd McDevitt, UC San Francisco

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium
Todd McDevitt, Ph.D.

Professor of Biomedical Engineering
University of California San Francisco

Abstract: Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) afford novel avenues for ex vivo modeling and interrogation of human biology as well as potential regenerative therapies due to their innate ability to generate cells of any tissue from all three germ lineages. However, the use of PSCs for such purposes requires robust and reproducible methods of directing differentiation effectively and engineering of multicellular tissue mimetics with the appropriate cellular composition, structure and function. McDevitt's laboratory is focused on the development of enabling technologies and platforms to facilitate these goals in order to translate the potential of stem cells into clinically impactful products. The lab has recently differentiated excitatory (V2a) spinal interneurons from human PSCs by manipulating relevant developmental signaling pathways with small molecules. The V2a interneurons mature to a glutamatergic phenotype in vitro and extend long axon projections (>5mm in 2 weeks) in rostral and caudal directions when implanted into the spinal cord. Thus, hPSC-derived V2a interneurons may be a novel regenerative cell therapy for spinal cord injury as well as serve as a substrate for new drug screening and disease modeling purposes.

Bio: McDevitt is a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes and a professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at UC San Francisco. He has approximately 20 years of experience in biomaterials and tissue engineering research, and for nearly 15 years has focused primarily on stem cell and tissue engineering. The primary objective of McDevitt’s research is to engineer stem cell technologies capable of directing differentiation and morphogenesis more effectively in order to create new models of development and disease, novel drug screening platforms and regenerative medicine therapies. The McDevitt laboratory has been a leader in the development of novel 3D suspension culture platforms for stem cell morphogenesis and scalable biomanufacturing.