In the fourth episode of ‘Absolutos y Relativos‘, the Spanish science outreach podcast of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), we meet Jarek Sochacki, a technician specializing in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory – Barcelona (EMBL Barcelona).
iPS cells are obtained from adult cells that are already differentiated and have the capacity to become any cell type. This characteristic makes them very useful for modeling diseases and learning how cells develop and differentiate. This allows Jarek to work on diseases from a basic research point of view, in the hope of doing his bit to improve patients’ conditions.
In addition to working with human cells, Jarek is also in charge of obtaining iPS cells from some animal species of scientific interest –such as the shrew– or that are in danger of extinction –such as the pygmy hippopotamus–. Although the differentiation of animal cells is usually more complicated, obtaining them will enable them to become part of the bank of endangered animal cells and thus contribute to the conservation of species.
Jarek is in charge of obtaining and “feeding” the stem cells used in many of the experiments carried out at EMBL, and although he loves his work and it brings him a lot of satisfaction, he recognizes that “working with stem cells requires a lot of dedication and time” and that sometimes he feels that he is “sacrificing a little bit of his private life to get the job done”.
Don’t miss this episode!