Holly Wobma

Holly is an MD-PhD student at Columbia University in New York. She recently (2011) completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences Honours Degree from the University of Calgary, where she pursued research related to nanotechnology and regenerative medicine. In addition to research, she enjoys participating in science outreach roles. Previously, she contributed to an award-winning Nanoscience animation produced by the Science Alberta Foundation (“Do You Know What Nano Means?”), and served on the board of directors for the Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations Student Network. Holly's lab tweets @GVNlab.

Posts by: Holly


From organ survival to organ revival – how patients can regenerate their own donor lung prior to surgery

Author: Holly Wobma, 03/22/17

For most areas of medicine, the supply of a treatment can easily meet demand (access issues aside). Need an antibody? A steroid? Millions of pills are manufactured every day. The case could not be more different for solid organ transplantation, for which the list of patients with end-stage organ failure vastly exceeds the number of…Read more

Sculpted to a T: Synthetic T-cells for a more controlled immune response

Author: Holly Wobma, 10/18/16

I have a confession.  This is not a blog about stem cells. It is, however, a blog about cells with infinite possibilities of fate. Because we are entering the world of synthetic biology, where crafty cellular engineering has enabled a new level of control over immune cell function. This work comes out of Wendell Lim’s…Read more

A new style of MSC immunotherapy – Instructions included

Author: Holly Wobma, 09/22/16

If you have been following stem cell news lately, you know that there have been several recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) meetings regarding how to classify stem cells, which ultimately affects if and how they will be regulated. There are many medical practitioners, scientists, and patients who would like to see these therapies on…Read more

Each vessel is special: Engineering kidney-specific microvasculature

Author: Holly Wobma, 08/29/16

As humans, it is natural to categorize our environment. Usually, these groups include perceptible differences. -The red shirt vs. the blue shirt (not the near infrared vs. far infrared shirt) -The quiet (to our ears) sound vs. the loud sound -etc. Since we don’t readily see or feel microscopic differences in our body, for most…Read more

iPS cell technology – kickstarting our ability to control cell identity

Author: Holly Wobma, 08/25/16

When you hear the word “stem cell,” I imagine this conjures up the image of cells that are special. Unlike most cells, stem cells can differentiate into other cell types. They hold the promise of curing many diseases, and thus they are continually the source of hype in mainstream and social media. Yet the above…Read more

Immunotoxins: a surprisingly less toxic approach to stem cell transplants

Author: Holly Wobma, 07/06/16

It is often the case that to produce something ‘shiny,’ new and better, we must first get rid of the old. This is true even in the case of stem cell therapies. Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplants have been around since the mid-twentieth century and are used to treat a broad range of diseases such…Read more

Here’s a (r)evolutionary idea: using stem cells to study differences in species

Author: Holly Wobma, 05/16/16

At the crossroad of developmental biology and tissue engineering, there is a group of scientists trying to delicately coax stem cells down a specific path. In the metaphoric sense, they are most interested in how the nature of their cells evolves over time. But what if stem cells could teach us something about evolution itself?…Read more

Mental constructions: a 3D printing approach to making miniature neural circuits

Author: Holly Wobma, 04/11/16

“You are your synapses.” [Joseph LeDoux]. I first came across this quote while working in a neurophysiology lab after my freshman year of undergraduate studies. To this day, I am amazed by its simple eloquence and the grandeur of its implications. Indeed, the idea that the essence of our experience of the world – our…Read more

A paper on stem cells… on paper

Author: Holly Wobma, 11/10/15

  The last two decades have seen a number of fascinating innovations in biomaterial scaffolds development. This comes from the growing realization that 2D culture of cells can only do so much in terms of mimicking physiological niches of the body. To encourage stem cells towards a particular mature cell fate, or to mimic disease…Read more