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How to make a human

Technology meets biology with our new stem cell robots

How to make a human was developed by one of our Principal Investigators Dr Elisa Laurenti in partnership with Dr Stephane Magnenat, researcher in educational robotics, EPFL, Switzerland.

The activity presents the robot as a pluripotent stem cell, which requires programming to become a specific cell lineage. Visitors are taken through the choices a cell makes during differentiation and are then tasked with programming their robot by filling out a specially designed bar code. The robot is then put to the test, as it reads the code and makes it way across a floor map, making choices until it reaches it's cell type of choice.

We launched the activity at Cambridge Science Festival 2016 with two hands on days in the Guildhall on 12 and 13 March, and a session at the Clinical School on 20 March. Since then the robots have featured at a number of festivals and events and even returned to the Science Festival for a second year in a row!

Funded by a Public Engagement Seed Fund grant from the Stem Cell Institute

   

   

   

RSS Feed Latest news

Cancer cells ‘corrupt’ their healthy neighbours

Aug 28, 2019

The healthy cells immediately surrounding a tumour become more stem cell-like and support cancer growth, reveals a new study published in Nature. The discovery was made during a research collaboration between Dr Joo-Hyeon Lee at the Wellcome – MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and Dr Ilaria Malanchi at the Francis Crick Institute.

Discovering the numerous paths of stem cell decision making

Aug 15, 2019

How cells change their identity to become a different cell type and the route they follow to reach their final form is a fundamental unanswered question at the heart of developmental biology.

Cambridge scientists reverse ageing process in rat brain stem cells

Aug 14, 2019

New research, published today in Nature, reveals how increasing brain stiffness as we age causes brain stem cell dysfunction, and demonstrates new ways to reverse older stem cells to a younger, healthier state.

New stem cell research funded as part of UK-Japan collaborations to tackle global challenges

Aug 09, 2019

Professor Austin Smith from the Wellcome – MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute is one of the first round of researchers from the UK and Japan funded to tackle major global challenges in collaborative projects announced today, Friday 9th August 2019.

New stem cell combination could help to repair damaged hearts

Aug 05, 2019

A combination of heart cells derived from human stem cells could be the answer to developing a desperately-needed treatment for heart failure, according to new research part-funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and published in Nature Biotechnology.

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The Cambridge Stem Cell Institute is a world-leading centre for stem cell research.

Our mission: to transform human health through a deep understanding of stem cell biology.

 

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