Ensieh (Ava) Zahmatkesh

Postdoc

In vitro modelling of organogenesis using embryo-like structures

Ensieh (Ava) obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Master’s degree in histology and embryology. She became then interested in stem cell biology and got a scholarship to start her Ph.D. in Cells and Developmental biology in stem cells and technology department at Royan research institute in Iran. Her Ph.D. project aimed to develop a more reliable, rapid, and cost-effective functional liver organoid derived from human pluripotent stem cells for drug screening and disease modeling applications. To this end, she applied the tissue engineering method and co-culture system along with micropatterning approach. During this project, she tried to recapitulate a natural microenvironment in terms of supportive cells and ECM for further maturation of hepatocyte cells.

In July 2022, Ensieh (Ava) started her postdoc project at the IBE department in MERLN institute under the supervision of Dr. Stefan Giselbrecht. She is working on modeling the formation of organs using an embryo-like structure derived from stem cells. This project is part of the ‘synthetic embryo’ project. This in vitro derived blastoid model offers immense potential for uncovering fundamental mechanisms in both pre-and early post-implantation development and would also provide a novel model for figuring out the embryonic origin of disorders and pharmacological studies on the potential effects of drugs and drug candidates on embryos.

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