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Madeline Lancaster awarded 2021 Vallee Scholarship

24.9.2021 | The biologist is recognised for her work on cerebral organoids or ‘mini-brains’, grown from human pluripotent stem cells and used to model human brain development.
Madeline Lancaster
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(© Madeline Lancaster)

Madeline Lancaster

»I am truly honoured to be among this year’s awardees of this prestigious prize,« said Dr Lancaster in a press release upon winning the Vallee Scholarship . »It is fantastic for myself and my lab to be recognised in this way, and the award will make a big impact for our future research.«

Dr Lancaster is based at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK. Her work is focused on studying human brain evolution using a special model system, which she calls cerebral organoids or ‘mini-brains’: 3D tissue grown from human pluripotent stem cells. They enable Dr Lancaster’s team to study human brain development in vitro; for example, they have been used to model the neurodevelopmental disorder microcephaly, where the brain ends up too small.

Since the pandemic, the Lancaster lab have also employed their technique to study how the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19 infects human brains and it causes one of the key neurological symptoms of long COVID: chronic fatigue.

Originally from the United States, Dr Lancaster earned her PhD at the University of California, San Diego, before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, Austria. She joined the LMB in 2015.

The Vallee Scholarship recognises outstanding young investigators in the biomedical sciences, and the grant is envisioned as a boost to junior faculty at a critical stage in their careers.
  (© AcademiaNet)

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