May 29, 2019

Cynthia J. DeLong, Ph.D., wins research staff award from the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

Award given out by the Endowment for the Basic Sciences

Cindy DeLong came to manage the stem cell core lab in 2010 when it was still called the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Center--now Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Core Lab

Cindy's responsibilities are wide ranging and include training students in derivation, culture and differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells. She has trained 40-50 scientists in stem cell culture. She is responsible for all the quality control of the cells, making sure that they are pristine and meaningful studies can be done with them. She organizes recharges for the core lab, tours for interested donors, and speaks at national meetings.

Recently, Cindy took on the roadblock of using pluripotent stem cells as models of human disease, which is that the cells, when differentiated, don't complete differentiation forming adult neurons, but are "stuck" at midfetal development. Cindy used her training in lipid biochemistry to identify a cocktail of polyunsaturated fatty acids that, when added to the culture medium, significantly improves membrane properties of the neurons and promotes their differentiation. This work was done in collaboration with Dr. Katarzyna Glanowska in Geoff Murphy's lab.