Harvard University, USA
Paola Arlotta is Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University. She is rewarded for her pioneering discoveries regarding brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders as well as her innovative approaches towards brain repair. She studied biochemistry at the University of Trieste and was awarded a Ph.D. in molecular biology by the University of Portsmouth before she relocated to Harvard University. There she focused her research on the development of the cerebral cortex and succeeded in refuting the long-held view that neuronal identity remains irrevocably fixed in the brain and has thus helped opening up a completely new field of research. In the recent past, Arlotta was able to generate organoids of the cerebral cortex from human stem cells. This has formed the basis for modelling the development of the human cerebral cortex and has resulted in the discovery of core mechanisms underlying developmental disorders of the nervous system.