WPI’s now-famous spinach leaf was named seventh in National Geographic’s “Our 21 Most Popular Stories of 2017.” The annual roundup noted that, “In a feat of science that captivated the attention of a million readers, a spinach leaf’s genetic material was replaced with that of a human heart, with far-reaching implications for future heart surgeries.”
Everyone has a favorite organ, says Jenna Balestrini ’09, PhD BME. Her mother, a nurse practitioner who treated burn patients, had a special interest in the skin. Her WPI mentor, Professor Kristen Billiar, is partial to the heart.
“I am definitely a lung person,” Balestrini declares. Despite her preference, she doesn’t play favorites in her work at Draper, where she heads the Cell Bioprocessing program, working on tools to create an amazing array of cures for all parts of the body.