Associate Professor Silvia Velasco is internationally recognized for her research on stem cell biology and developmental neuroscience. By using stem cell-derived models of the developing human brain, she aims to understand neurological disorders and identify new approaches to treat them.
The aim of Associate Professor Silvia Velasco’s research is to understand the causes of human brain disorders and find new treatments for them, with a focus on neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, and other brain development disorders affecting children. She has developed a highly consistent method for generating stem cell-derived three-dimensional models of the human brain – called brain organoids. These models reliably mimic processes of human brain development, that would be otherwise impossible to study. Ultimately, Associate Professor Velasco and her team aim to use brain organoids to identify new, effective treatments for individuals affected by autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability and infantile epilepsy.
Associate Professor Velasco is principal investigator at ReNEW’s Melbourne node and leads the Neural Stem Cell group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) there. She previously worked at the Broad Institute of Harvard University, USA, where she established a method for the generation of a brain organoid model to identify cell-type specific developmental defects associated with autism spectrum disorders.
Associate Professor Velasco’s interest in stem cell biology and developmental neuroscience began during her postdoc at New York University, USA. She completed her PhD in human biology, MSc and BSc in medical biotechnology at the University of Turin, Italy.
reNEW researchers have a strong track record of scientific excellence in stem cell biology
They have performed pioneering work in stem cell research spanning different tissue and cell types, different technological advances and different stages of applied research. This provides an unprecedented international opportunity to utilise the combined wealth of knowledge, complementary skills sets and clinical experience across reNEW to push stem cell discoveries toward translational outcomes.