I recently visited Dr. Elias Zambidis' lab to discuss his research on turning blood cells into heart cells. They pioneered a method that uses plasmids (tiny rings of DNA) rather than viruses to transfer genetic material into blood cells, which is the first among several steps on the path to becoming heart cells. Their newly-developed recipe to mix up a batch of heart cells is simpler, cheaper, safer and more efficient than processes used by other labs, but, to be sure, Zambidis and his colleagues want other lab to test the method on their cell lines. In Zambidis' lab, scientist Paul Burridge showed me a group of newly-formed heart cells. Under the microscrope, it was an amazing sight -- the cells beat and contracted together with energy and strength. Below is a video of one such cell.
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