Keynote Speaker Alysson Muotri
The Keynote Speaker for the 2020 World Congress on In Vitro Biology is Dr. Alysson R. Muotri, Ph.D., of the Sanford Consortium, Departments of Pediatrics/Cellular & Molecular Medicine, University of California, San Diego. Dr. Muotri earned a BSc in Biological Sciences from the State University of Campinas in 1995 and a Ph.D. in Genetics from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2001. He continued his postdoctoral training in the fields of neuroscience and stem cell biology at the Salk Institute as a Pew Latin America Fellow. He has been a professor at the School of Medicine, University of California San Diego since 2008, is the Director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program, and is a member of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine.
Dr. Muotri is a leader in the study of brain development and neural disorders. He pioneered culture models using neural stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, derived from humans1,2 and other primates3, to understand the fundamental mechanisms which regulate neurological diseases. These include Autism Spectrum Disorders4,5, schizophrenia3, the neurological autoimmune condition Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome6, Williams syndrome7, Rett syndrome8,9, as well as the progression10 and potential treatment of Zika virus-driven microcephaly11,12. His laboratory most recently modeled coordinated human brain wave function using three-dimensional cerebral organoids showing an extraordinary level of neural network complexity13, and further, has endeavored to study their development under microgravity conditions aboard the International Space Station.
Dr. Muotri’s research is currently supported by four NIH RO1 grants, R41 and U19 grants, and by partnership with the generous philanthropist T. Denny Sanford – a staunch advocate of stem cell research and continuing benefactor of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine and UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center. Dr. Muotri has received several awards, including the prestigious NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the NARSAD Independent Investigator Grant, the Emerald Foundation Young Investigator Award, the Surugadai Award from Tokyo University, the Rock Star of Innovation from CONNECT, and the NIH EUREKA Award.
An example of Alysson Muotri’s three-dimensional cerebral organoid
Dr. Muotri is a dynamic speaker and will deliver his Keynote Address on Sunday, June 7, at the Town and Country – San Diego, entitled “Emergence of Spontaneous Oscillatory Networks from Human Brain Organoids.” Submitted by Michael K Dame Program Director, 2020 World Congress on In Vitro Biology Society for In Vitro Biology Associate Director, Translational Tissue Modeling Laboratory University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor Michigan ➜  Visit the University of Michigan Translational Tissue Modeling Laboratory Website

Selected Citations


  1. Muotri, A. R. et al. Somatic mosaicism in neuronal precursor cells mediated by L1 retrotransposition. Nature 435, 903-910, doi:10.1038/nature03663 (2005).
  2. Muotri, A. R., Nakashima, K., Toni, N., Sandler, V. M. & Gage, F. H. Development of functional human embryonic stem cell-derived neurons in mouse brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 102, 18644-18648, doi:10.1073/pnas.0509315102 (2005).
  3. Marchetto, M. C. et al. Species-specific maturation profiles of human, chimpanzee and bonobo neural cells. eLife 8, doi:10.7554/eLife.37527 (2019).
  4. Griesi-Oliveira, K. et al. Modeling non-syndromic autism and the impact of TRPC6 disruption in human neurons. Molecular psychiatry 20, 1350-1365, doi:10.1038/mp.2014.141 (2015).
  5. Marchetto, M. C. et al. Altered proliferation and networks in neural cells derived from idiopathic autistic individuals. Molecular psychiatry 22, 820-835, doi:10.1038/mp.2016.95 (2017).
  6. Thomas, C. A. et al. Modeling of TREX1-Dependent Autoimmune Disease using Human Stem Cells Highlights L1 Accumulation as a Source of Neuroinflammation. Cell Stem Cell 21, 319-331.e318, doi:10.1016/j.stem.2017.07.009 (2017).
  7. Chailangkarn, T. et al. A human neurodevelopmental model for Williams syndrome. Nature 536, 338-343, doi:10.1038/nature19067 (2016).
  8. Muotri, A. R. et al. L1 retrotransposition in neurons is modulated by MeCP2. Nature 468, 443-446, doi:10.1038/nature09544 (2010).
  9. Marchetto, M. C. et al. A model for neural development and treatment of Rett syndrome using human induced pluripotent stem cells. Cell 143, 527-539, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2010.10.016 (2010).
  10. Cugola, F. R. et al. The Brazilian Zika virus strain causes birth defects in experimental models. Nature 534, 267-271, doi:10.1038/nature18296 (2016).
  11. Shiryaev, S. A. et al. Repurposing of the anti-malaria drug chloroquine for Zika Virus treatment and prophylaxis. Scientific reports 7, 15771, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-15467-6 (2017).
  12. Mesci, P. et al. Blocking Zika virus vertical transmission. Scientific reports 8, 1218, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-19526-4 (2018).
  13. Trujillo, C. A. et al. Complex Oscillatory Waves Emerging from Cortical Organoids Model Early Human Brain Network Development. Cell Stem Cell 25, 558-569.e557, doi:10.1016/j.stem.2019.08.002 (2019).