Momoko Watanabe, PhD
Momoko Watanabe earned a B.S. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2006. She then pursued her doctoral studies at UC Irvine, where she studied the mechanisms of forebrain patterning and used in vivo developmental principles to derive choroid plexus epithelial cells from mouse and human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) for cell-based therapeutic applications. Building on her excitement and experience with neural development and stem cell biology, she did her first post-doctoral training at RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan, to focus on the three-dimensional culture of cerebral cortex structures, so called brain organoids, generated from hPSCs. She then moved back to the U.S. and joined UCLA. Her project focused on the development of highly efficient and reproducible cerebral organoid methods to investigate the origins of cortical neural circuits and model neurodevelopmental disorders, including the Congenital Zika Syndrome. Building upon these accomplishments, she successfully received a NIH K99/R00 grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). She was recently recruited to UC Irvine as a part of Faculty Hiring for Leveraged Research Excellence (FHLRE) “Stem Cells in Tissue Engineering” and started as an Assistant Professor at the Anatomy and Neurobiology Department in 2020. She is very excited to contribute to a synergistic interdepartmental concentration in stem cell-based engineering.
-BS, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology – University of California, Los Angeles
-PhD, Stem Cell, Developmental Neurobiology – University of California, Irvine
UCI Stem Cell Research Center