Year 1

This past year we successfully transitioned our laboratory to the Gladstone Institutes and have significantly increased our work with differentiation and engineering of 3D tissue constructs from human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). Our primary efforts are focused on the development of 3D models of heart muscle and spinal cord tissues from human PSCs that can be used as novel model systems to study early human developmental events and serve as substrates for advanced pharmaceutical screening platforms. We are creating small (microscale) 3D tissue constructs from primitive human PSC differentiated cells and examining the effects of 3D culture along with inclusion of supporting cells, like fibroblasts and glial cells, on heart muscle and spinal cord neuron maturation, respectively. We are also examining the effects of developmentally relevant hormone treatments of our 3D constructs in an effort to better understand hormonal effects on tissue development and primitive cell maturation.