The role of metabolism in stem cell biology is poorly understood. Studies have shown that changes in metabolism coincide with differentiation of stem cells into adult tissue cells. However, what regulates these metabolic changes and whether they are important for differentiation is yet unknown. This proposed research will better characterize the metabolic changes that occur during human embryonic stem cell differentiation. It will also investigate what regulates these metabolic changes in stem cells. Importantly, this study will determine the role of these metabolic changes in stem cell self-renewal, pluripotency, and differentiation. Findings from this research will improve our understanding of the role of metabolism in stem cell biology and may lead to novel approaches for regenerative medicine involving metabolic programming or reprogramming of stem cell fate.
Our research will have short- and long-term benefits for the citizens of California.
In the short-term, our research will explain critical unanswered questions about stem cell differentiation. Specifically we will elucidate the role of metabolism in stem cell biology and differentiation. This proposed research may uncover strategies for controlling differentiation of stem cells by manipulating their metabolism. Future research will build on this to metabolically program stem cells into adult tissue cells or reprogram adult tissue cells into pluripotent cells useful for regenerative medicine.
In the long term, our research into the role of metabolism in stem cells may help clinicians stop the spread of teratomas, thus making stem cell-based therapies safer. This development could benefit millions of Californians afflicted with diseases such as neurological disorders and diabetes.