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A Closer Look at... Seminar Series 




Expert conversations highlight emerging research and clinical strategies discussing Placental evaluation and the latest in stem cell-based modeling of the Placenta.


Join us for a Closer Look At... Your Placenta and hear from stem cell experts Dr. Mana Parast (perinatal pathologist) & Dr. Karen Mestan (neonatologist) on placental evaluation after delivery and its applications in personalized medicine, as well as the latest in stem cell-based modeling of this under-studied organ

Hosted by Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD; Director, Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center; Professor, Department of Medicine, UC San Diego


 Seminar & Networking

3:30 p.m. Registration

4:00 p.m. Presentations Followed by Q & A

  • Dr. Karen Mestan
  • Dr. Mana Parast
  • Special Guest Speakers, The Higgins Family: Experiences in the NICU

6:00 p.m. Networking & Cocktails with Tastes from Bella Vista Caffé



Dr. Mana Parast is a physician-scientist with clinical and research expertise in placental development and pathology. She is the Director of the Perinatal Pathology Service and Co-Director of the Center for Perinatal Discovery at UC San Diego. She is also a member of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine. Her lab focuses on the development of the placenta across gestation, using pluripotent stem cells to model the placenta and the implantation site. Dr. Parast is also interested in the identification of histopathologic patterns of placental injury that underlie complications of pregnancy, including preeclampsia, spontaneous preterm birth, and stillbirth

Dr. Karen Mestan is the Division Chief of Neonatology at UC San Diego/Rady Children's Hospital after spending nearly 20 years at Northwestern University teaching, researching, and building a biorepository of the placenta and cord blood. She is currently a Co-Director of the Center for Perinatal Discovery and Principal Investigator for the Mestan Lab, which is interested in identifying biochemical, environmental, and genetic markers that can lead to new therapies for predicting, preventing, and managing bronchopulmonary dysplasia and neonatal hypertension in high-risk infants. She received her B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University and her M.D. from Chicago Medical School, completing her residency and fellowship at the University of Chicago. In her free time, Dr. Mestan has run marathons and triathlons and likes to travel and spend time with her husband, two daughters, and dog.






This event will be observing UCSD Campus Guidelines regarding COVID-19.

All participants must complete the online COVID-19 daily symptom screening before coming to the campus. UC San Diego Students, staff, and faculty must get a green “thumbs up” for the day.

Face coverings will be made available by the event host organization for UC San Diego employees and students who do not have them if needed to comply with current campus guidelines.

A record of all attendees as well as employees, students, or volunteers that are working the event will be kept for at least two weeks.



Past Seminars

August 13, 2021: A Closer Look at... Cancer Prevention

Scott Lippman, MD Ludmil Alexandrov, PhD, and Hannah Carter, PhD discuss the genetic, lifestyle-related, and environmental risk factors identified in cancer prevention.

May 30, 2021: A Closer Look at... Spinal Cord Injury

Mark Tuszynski, MD, PhD, Bob Yant, and Lawrence S.B. Goldstein, PhD discuss the newest research and treatments for spinal cord injury, including how neural stem cells may be leveraged to potentially regain function.

Thursday, April 15, 2021: A Closer Look at... COVID-19

Davey Smith, M.D., MAS, Sheldon Morris, M.D., MPH,  Robert "Chip" Schooley, M.D., and Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, have a conversation regarding COVID-19.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021: A Closer Look at Biomaterials, Tissue Repair, and Regeneration

Karen Christman, Ph.D.Marianna Alperin, M.D., Hosted by Sylvia Evans, Ph.D., discussed the next generation of pro-regenerative biomaterials.

February 18, 2021: A Closer Look at... Alzheimer's Disease

Douglas Galasko, M.D., Larry Goldstein, Ph.D., and Alysson Muotri, Ph.D. discussed the next generation of treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

December 17, 2020:  A Closer Look at... Prostate Disease

J. Kellogg Parsons, M.D., MHS, Rana R. McKay, M.D., and Christina Jamieson, Ph.D. discussed the next generation of treatments for Prostate Cancer.

October 22, 2020: A Closer Look at... Precision Immunotherapy: 

Ezra Cohen, M.D. & Judy Varner, Ph.D. on how Precision Immunotherapy can harness the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells.

August 6, 2020: A Closer Look at... Parkinson’s Disease: 

Irene Litvan, M.D., Don Cleveland, Ph.D., and David Higgins, Ph.D., discussed the next generation of treatments for Parkinson’s Disease and offered a patient’s perspective.