Romanian-born Sergiu Pasca, an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, is the recipient of the 2018 ASCB Early Career Life Scientist Award.
The distinction is awarded to “outstanding researchers who have served as independent investigators for seven or fewer years,” according to ascb.org.
Pasca, who is a neuroscientist and stem cell biologist, grew up in Aiud, in western Romania. He also trained as a medical doctor in the country.
In his work, he developed technology “to derive self-organizing 3D human brain tissue in vitro starting from pluripotent stem cells.” The 3D cultures can be used in the study of the normal human brain but also in the study of the brain affected by various diseases. The 3D brain tissue platform "has the potential to bring molecular biology to psychiatry" and could also be used to gain new insights into diagnosing and treating neuropsychiatric diseases.