2010 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Biology
Supported by: Dr. Richard and Linda Kelley
Mentor: Marius Wernig, Assistant Professor of Pathology

Daniel Fuentes is entering his junior year at Stanford, where he is majoring in biology. He is currently studying the direct cell reprogramming of mouse fibroblasts to motor neurons in the Wernig lab. This process uses motor neuron-specific genes cloned into retroviral vectors to overexpress proteins fundamental for motor neuron development. This upregulation causes the fibroblasts to acquire motor neuron-like properties (which should ultimately include functional maturity) including the ability to form synapses with muscle fibers. He chose this research because it merges several fields of great interest to him, including neurobiology, developmental biology, and stem cell biology.

Poster presented at the Stanford Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Symposium on August 25, 2010:

Direct Conversion of Fibroblasts to Motor Neurons

Daniel Fuentes, Thomas Vierbuchen, Troy Yang, Marius Wernig
[Biology, Medicine, Engineering; Stanford University]