Mid-terminal human synthetic liver organogenesis

The human liver is a natural marvel. This organ performs 500 different functions for our body, each one spatially distinct from the others in the fully formed liver. How these different abilities arise in space and time as the liver develops is still partly a mystery, but scientists know that liver organogenesis (the formation of an adult organ) relies on chemical cues, genetics, mechanical forces, nutrients and other environmental factors. Kelly Stevens, Ph.D., is leading a team to explore the complete suite of factors that are involved in human liver development. Currently, organ transplantation remains the only viable treatment for end-stage liver disease and donor supply does not meet the need of those waiting for transplants. Better understanding human liver organogenesis could allow researchers to directly build new organs in the lab, enabling new and much-needed therapies for liver disease.  

Affiliated Investigators

Kelly Stevens, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Dr. Kelly Stevens is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, and Laboratory Medicine & Pathology at the University of Washington. Dr. Stevens' research team focuses on human organ design. Her team is developing molecular blueprints of human organs, as well as new fabrication methods to build human organs, such as by 3D printing and synthetic morphogenesis. Dr. Stevens also works to disseminate the message that to develop advances that equitably improve the lives of all people, our profession needs to include all people. Dr. Stevens has received numerous honors and awards as a result of this work, including Elected Co-Chair of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine New Voices Cohort, NIH New Innovator Award, BMES CMBE Rising Star Award, John Tietze Stem Cell Scientist Award, Keck Foundation Award, and Gree Scholar Award. Her work in organ fabrication is widely cited and has been spotlighted by >500 media outlets worldwide.