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Mice Don’t Menstruate: Reimagining Women’s Health Using Organ Chips with Dr. Donald Ingber


In this episode, host Sharon Kedar, Co-Founder of Northpond Ventures, is joined by Dr. Donald Ingber, Founding Director at Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.

Dr. Ingber’s commitment to following his passion has led him to countless medical and technological breakthroughs, including Organ Chip technology. These incredible chips recreate the structure and function of human organs. Drugs can be administered through Organ Chips so that blood impact can be monitored. Once more widely adopted, Organ Chip testing will be able to replace animal testing. As Dr. Ingber shares, the results will surpass those of animal testing.

The Organ Chip technology already includes women’s health models and holds great promise to revolutionize this under-invested area. Because animals, namely mice, do not have menstrual cycles, their biological environments are already skewed to test any women’s health-related projects. Organ Chips are a great solution to close the data gap. Dr. Ingber shares two projects underway in partnership with the Gates Foundation: to create a cure for bacterial vaginosis and to create a non-hormonal contraceptive.

Dr. Ingber highlights the importance of nurturing the business side of scientific breakthroughs so that innovations can reach patients. Twenty percent of Harvard’s intellectual property comes out of the Wyss Institute, and both funding and mentorship play crucial roles in that success metric.

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