Steven Sloan, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Office: Whitehead Biomedical Research Building - Room 377

Phone: 404-727-7208

Email: steven.a.sloan@emory.edu

Additional Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Whitehead Biomedical Research Building

615 Michael Street
Room 377

Atlanta, GA 30322

Additional Websites

Research Interests

Glia are the most abundant cell types in the mammalian nervous system. They are integral to normal brain physiology, yet we still understand very little about how they develop, what functions they perform, and how they are involved in disease. We understand even less about these cells in humans because of the lack of direct access to intact, functioning human brain tissue. To study human glia, our lab uses a combination of primary neurosurgical samples as well as human indued pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived non-invasively from skin samples to generate brain cells in the lab. Because the brain is a 3D structure and studying cells growing on a plate doesn't recapitulate its complexity, we are using human iPSCs to generate functional 3D structures that are patterned to mirror specific regions of the human brain. We can culture these 'brains-in-a-dish' for long periods of time to ask how normal brain development is occurring in a human system. 

 

In the lab we are pursuing two big picture topics. First, how do human glia develop and what makes them unique?  Secondly, given that glia play critical roles in helping neural circuit development, does abnormal glial development contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and schizophrenia? To answer these questions, we are using state-of-the-art genome engineering, stem cell biology, imaging, and neurobiological approaches. Our hope is that by investigating the potential contribution of this previously overlooked group of cells in the nervous system, we may be able to decipher new mechanisms and therapeutic targets to advance human health.

Areas of Specialization

  • Glial Biology
  • Neuron-Glial Interactions
  • iPSC-derived Brain Organoids
  • Human Brain Development
  • Transcriptomics and Next-Generation Sequencing

Education

  • MD, Stanford University,
  • PhD, Stanford University,
  • BS, Biochemistry, University of Miami,
  • BS, Biomedical Engineering, University of Miami,

Publications