Irina Conboy

Irina Conboy

Title
Professor
Department
Dept of Bioengineering
Phone
(510) 666-2792
Fax
(510) 642-5835
Research Expertise and Interest
stem cell niche engineering, tissue repair, stem cell aging and rejuvenation
Research Description

A key direction of my laboratory is to understand age-imposed and pathological changes in molecular compositions of systemic and local environments of adult stem cells and to calibrate these to health - youth. In the past few years this direction has been ramified into synthetic biology, CRISPR technologies, bio-orhtogonal proteomics and development of innovative digital bio-sensors that we collaboratively applied to the fields of aging and diagnostics of genetic diseases. Success in this research will improve our understanding of the determinants of homeostatic health and will enable novel rational approaches to treat a number of degenerative, fibrotic, metabolic and inflammatory diseases, as a class.

a few links: https://engineering.berkeley.edu/news/2019/10/new-frontiers-in-gene-editing/, https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2019/09/12/uncovering-how-the-body-ages-is-leading-to-drugs-to-reverse-it, http://berkeleysciencereview.com/article/bloody-battle-aging/ https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21724967-might-be-true-people-too-blood-young-animals-can-revitalise-old. http://ww2.kqed.org/science/2014/07/21/new-uc-berkeley-study-shows-oxytocin-may-help-rejuvenate-aging-muscles/ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161122123102.htm, http://time.com/4579899/young-blood-transfusion-aging/

In the News

June 15, 2020

Diluting blood plasma rejuvenates tissue, reverses aging in mice

In 2005, University of California, Berkeley, researchers made the surprising discovery that making conjoined twins out of young and old mice — such that they share blood and organs — can rejuvenate tissues and reverse the signs of aging in the old mice. The finding sparked a flurry of research into whether a youngster’s blood might contain special proteins or molecules that could serve as a “fountain of youth” for mice and humans alike.
March 25, 2019

New CRISPR-powered device detects genetic mutations in minutes

A team of engineers at the UC Berkeley and the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) of The Claremont Colleges combined CRISPR with electronic transistors made from graphene to create a new hand-held device that can detect specific genetic mutations in a matter of minutes.
May 13, 2015

Drug perks up old muscles and aging brains

UC Berkeley researchers have discovered that a small-molecule drug simultaneously perks up old stem cells in the brains and muscles of mice, a finding that could lead to drug interventions for humans that would make aging tissues throughout the body act young again.

September 22, 2011

Bioengineers reprogram muscles to combat degeneration

UC Berkeley researchers have turned back the clock on mature muscle tissue, coaxing it back to an earlier stem cell stage to form new muscle. Moreover, they showed in mice that the newly reprogrammed muscle stem cells could be used to help repair damaged tissue. The achievement is described in the Sept. 23 issue of the journal Chemistry & Biology.

In the News

June 15, 2020

Diluting blood plasma rejuvenates tissue, reverses aging in mice

In 2005, University of California, Berkeley, researchers made the surprising discovery that making conjoined twins out of young and old mice — such that they share blood and organs — can rejuvenate tissues and reverse the signs of aging in the old mice. The finding sparked a flurry of research into whether a youngster’s blood might contain special proteins or molecules that could serve as a “fountain of youth” for mice and humans alike.
March 25, 2019

New CRISPR-powered device detects genetic mutations in minutes

A team of engineers at the UC Berkeley and the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) of The Claremont Colleges combined CRISPR with electronic transistors made from graphene to create a new hand-held device that can detect specific genetic mutations in a matter of minutes.
May 13, 2015

Drug perks up old muscles and aging brains

UC Berkeley researchers have discovered that a small-molecule drug simultaneously perks up old stem cells in the brains and muscles of mice, a finding that could lead to drug interventions for humans that would make aging tissues throughout the body act young again.

September 22, 2011

Bioengineers reprogram muscles to combat degeneration

UC Berkeley researchers have turned back the clock on mature muscle tissue, coaxing it back to an earlier stem cell stage to form new muscle. Moreover, they showed in mice that the newly reprogrammed muscle stem cells could be used to help repair damaged tissue. The achievement is described in the Sept. 23 issue of the journal Chemistry & Biology.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
June 18, 2020
Shane McGlaun
By diluting the blood plasma of old mice, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley announced they were able to stimulate age-reversing effects in mouse brains, livers and muscles. Removing age-elevated and potentially harmful factors in old blood is shifting the main model of rejuvenation away from young blood. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News.
March 26, 2019
Dan Robitzski
A new, portable CRISPR device promises to make it far easier and quicker to accurately diagnose genetic diseases than existing methods can. The device, made from graphene and nicknamed CRISPR-Chip, was first conceived in the Berkeley lab of bioengineering professor Irina Conboy, one of the co-researchers, and it can diagnose Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy from a purified DNA sample within 15 minutes, a process that usually takes several weeks. The lead scientist is Keck Graduate Institute bioengineer and former Berkeley postdoctoral researcher Kiana Aran. Speaking of next steps, Aran says: "We're talking with companies who would be great at pushing our lab tool into diagnostics, with a goal of setting up partnerships to make that happen. So, commercialization of the quality control and validation tool this year, and a clinical tool to come later." For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Stories on this topic have appeared in more than 100 sources around the world, including Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Silicon Republic, MedIndia, Medical Device Network (Great Britain), and Wissenschaft (Germany).
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