Jill Helms is Professor of Surgery (Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery) at Stanford University. Her research program in the field of regeneration medicine is inspired by collaborations with experts in bioengineering, materials science, physics, and with colleagues in the life sciences. The group focuses on developing strategies to improve tissue healing through the re-activation of autologous stem cells. Adult stem cells are critical regenerative precursors that, when activated, control tissue regeneration. Currently, her group is developing clinically relevant methods to drive the self-renewal and proliferation of adult stem cells in the context of wound repair. Conducting clinically relevant research is Jill’s main objective, but this goes hand-in-hand with another goal of hers: She believes that education is one of the most important tools for improving human health. She aims to use every avenue available to transform the way people think about science and medicine, and emphasize its contribution to their daily lives.
Jill describes her experiences teaching stem cell therapeutic concepts to teens in an online summer class. She advocates providing high-quality resources and letting students struggle together to discover solutions. She stresses that professors, instructors, and mentors must be present and available for students to learn efficiently.