With tools from Silicon Valley, Quinton Smith builds lab-made organs

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 06:03 in Biology & Nature

While volunteering at the University of New Mexico’s Children’s Hospital in Albuquerque, Quinton Smith quickly realized that he could never be a physician. Then an undergrad at the university, Smith was too sad seeing sick kids all the time. But, he thought, “maybe I can help them with science.”   Smith had picked his major, chemical engineering, because he saw it as “a cooler way to go premed.” Though he ultimately landed in the lab instead of at the bedside, he has remained passionate about finding ways to cure what ails people. Today, his lab at the University of California, Irvine uses tools often employed in fabricating tiny electronics to craft miniature, lab-grown organs that mimic their real-life counterparts. “Most of the time, when we study cells, we study them in a petri dish,” Smith says. “But that’s not their native form.” Prodding cells to assemble into these 3-D structures, called organoids, can give...

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