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Sergiu P. Pasca: 2018 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

By The Vilcek Foundation

Sergiu Pasca explores the biological underpinnings of brain disease using models of the human brain created using cellular reprogramming technology. Pasca developed some of the early laboratory dish models of brain disease by deriving neurons from skin cells from patients with genetic forms of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. These patient-derived neurons helped uncover the cellular effects of specific mutations and demonstrated the promise of this novel approach. Next, Pasca went on to develop methods to extract stem cells from both healthy people and patients and to engineer lab-grown self-assembling 3D structures called brain spheroids, or brain region-specific organoids. These structures mimic specific regions of the nervous system, and Pasca has demonstrated how they can be assembled to study the cross-talk between cells in the developing human brain and to form functioning brain circuits in lab dishes. Pasca's lifelike models of the brain pave the way toward a better understanding of disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Pasca was born in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. For more information about Sergiu P. Pasca and the Vilcek Prizes, please visit http://www.vilcek.org

Sergiu Pasca
Assistant Professor
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Sleep Disorder/Sleep Center)
Stanford University