For as long as we’ve known of them, we’ve studied stem cells in the hopes of exploiting their regenerative properties to grow new tissues and even whole new organs. And for a time, it seemed Dr. Paulo Macchiarini delivered the miracle that would make tissue regeneration therapies a reality. He earned prestigious grants and renown across the world, but Macchiarini was a medical con artist. And before his final verdict was rendered he would ruin the lives of his whistleblowers and take the lives of over half his patients. What drives scientists to commit fraud and how did someone like Macchiarini get away with it for so long?
The presenter, Kris Sunderic, PhD, is a freelance Science Writer and Science Communicator. He graduated from Boston University in 2007 with a BS in biomedical engineering before entering the pharmaceutical industry as a research scientist working on vaccine formulations. He went on to earn his MS in biomedical engineering at the City College of New York in 2012, researching the effects of mild heat shock on the osteogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells and continued his research as a PhD candidate, studying the effects of heat shock and ultrasound on stem cells grown in mineralized polymer scaffold before earning his doctorate in 2018. Kris has given talks at both professional conferences and science outreach events and continues to pursue his passion for science communication. In his spare time, he enjoys stargazing, volunteering to teach STEM curricula, and winning trivia competitions around New York City. You can follow Kris on Twitter at @peer_revue.