The University of Massachusetts Amherst

In Pictures

Stem Cells: Studying the Forces that Cause Birth Defects

Pictured above are neurons derived from human stem cells, which rely on mechanical and chemical signals to develop into tissues such as bone and nerves. A ribbon of this tissue will turn into a tube that becomes the spinal cord and brain during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Yubing Sun, UMass Amherst professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, uses human cells to study the biochemical forces and chemical factors that cause birth defects of the brain and spinal cord in the first few weeks of fetal development. Sun seeks to gain an understanding of how the cells that create neural tubes get those signals and instructions for develop.  (Read More)