University of Southern California

Crump Lab

USC Stem Cell

Natasha Natarajan looks to the future of stem cells

Natasha Natarajan (Photo by Cristy Lytal)

“Everyone in this audience right now, you all started out as a stem cell,” said Natasha Natarajan at the 2017 TEDxUSC conference. “And then your DNA came in, did all the work, and differentiated each group of your stem cells into your muscles, into your heart, into your brain until we get the finished product: you.”

Natarajan’s eyes sparkled as she described the potential of stem cell research—which has been a passion of hers since she was 15 years old. As a high school student taking AP Biology at Beverly Hills High School, she won a writing competition about stem cells hosted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Her prize was the opportunity to work in the UCLA laboratory of Jianyu Rao, who was studying how green tea affects stem cells.

“I’m kind of a stem cell geek,” said Natarajan. “I’m really into it.”

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