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Nina Tandon: Could tissue engineering mean personalized medicine?

Nina Tandon: Could tissue engineering mean personalized medicine?

Each of our bodies is utterly unique, which is a lovely thought until it comes to treating an illness — when every body reacts differently, often unpredictably, to standard treatment. Tissue engineer Nina Tandon talks about a possible solution: Using pluripotent stem cells to make personalized models of organs on which to test new drugs and treatments, and storing them on computer chips. (Call it extremely personalized medicine.)

Nina Tandon studies ways to use electrical signals to grow artificial tissues for transplants and other therapies.

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER

Nina Tandon studies electrical signaling in the context of tissue engineering, with the goal of creating “spare parts” for human implantation and/or disease models. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Cooper Union, Nina worked on an electronic nose used to “smell” lung cancer as a Fulbright scholar in Rome. She studied electrical stimulation for cardiac tissue engineering at MIT and Columbia, and now continues her research on electrical stimulation for broader tissue-engineering applications. Tandon was a 2011 TED Fellow and a 2012 Senior Fellow.

“I love pointing out to my students that the cable equations we use to analyze transmission along nerves are the same ones developed for the transatlantic cable.”  Nina Tandon