EDISON — Dr. Nina Tandon, a Columbia University research scientist and tissue engineer, shared details of her fascinating work, compelled students and parents to debate its ethics, and performed an experiment in the biology lab during her visit to The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison on March 14. Dr. Tandon addressed the school community in the second installment of the school’s Snowdon Global Lecture Series.
Upper School students attended a 45-minute afternoon presentation during which Dr. Tandon shared details about herself, her family and how she became interested and involved in engineering and science. She became fascinated with how everyone sees the world differently and likened that to the W-H community and its diversity.
Dr. Tandon provided details about her research and how growing “spare parts” for the body will help humans live longer. She noted that heart disease kills more people than all cancers combined and stressed that the world needs more scientists.
After a brief question and answer session, the Advanced Placement biology and chemistry students joined Dr. Tandon and science teachers Bob Gould, Roland Marionni and Barbara Drake in the biology lab. Dr. Tandon gave a brief presentation about DNA and conducted a strawberry DNA extraction experiment.
Dr. Tandon’s evening presentation was more scientific and provided greater details about her research and its impact on the future of medical science. She spoke about growing tissues and building cells in the lab and explained how “we can prolong life by extending the life of our organs.” She called the heart a “beacon of electronic energy” and stressed that “we need more solutions than organ donations.”
“One of the goals of tissue engineering is to regrow your own body,” Dr. Tandon said. “Tissue engineering is poised to revolutionize how medicine is practiced and how drugs are prescribed.”