Understanding the Spatial Landscape of Cells in the Brain by Rena Ren

Join our Seminar 7pm November 29th in Northwest B103, 52 Oxford St, Cambridge MA

Or join our livestream at this link


Cells, too small for our eyes to perceive, constitute the fundamental unit of biology. All the cells within our bodies share a nearly identical DNA, which serves as the genetic blueprint dictating the identity and behavior of each cell. This naturally leads us to ponder how these distinct cells come together to form tissues and organs, working in harmony to facilitate various functions in our lives. In this seminar, my primary focus will be on the brain, the most complex organ in the human body. An average human brain consists of approximately 170 billion cells and over 3300 different cell types. How are the diverse brain cell types spatially organized in the various regions of the brain, allowing for seamless communication and interaction, thereby enabling us to walk, talk, and think? To address these questions, I will introduce state-of-the-art imaging technologies that empower us to map each individual cell within the mouse brains, creating a comprehensive cell ‘atlas.’ I will also elucidate how this panoramic view of cells contributes to a deeper understanding of the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Rena Ren received her Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Bryn Mawr College in 2019. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Chemical  biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Broad Institute, working in the lab of Professor Xiao Wang. She has developed innovative biotechnologies to investigate spatially-resolved post-transcriptional RNA dynamics at the genomic scale in single cells. She and the team profiled the spatial, temporal, and single-molecule information of RNA at the transcriptomic and translational levels in intact brain tissues, accomplishing advancements in the field of spatial transcriptomics. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *