Project Objective: Research Insights

Regulation of Adult Stem Cell Proliferation by RAS and Cell-Permeable Proteins

Our research focuses on developing new tools and models for the next generation of doctors and scientists in all specialties of regenerative medicine. The major obstacles in regenerative medicine are the limited number of pre-existing stem cells and the inability to regulate their proliferation. Our aim is to identify the mechanisms that regulate adult stem […]

Molecular dissection of adult liver regeneration to guide the generation of hepatocytes from pluripotent stem cells

The liver is a promising target for cell therapy since it supports and functionally integrates transplanted cells. Human liver contains more than 50 billion cells and more than 10% replacement will be required for most liver diseases. Hence, embryonic stem cells (ESC), which have unlimited growth capacities, represent one of the few cell types with […]

Mechanism of Tissue Engineered Small Intestine Formation

Short Bowel Syndrome is an expensive, morbid condition with an increasing incidence. Fundamental congenital and perinatal conditions such as gastroschisis, malrotation, atresia, and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) may lead to short bowel syndrome (SBS). NEC is the most common gastrointestinal emergency in neonates and primarily occurs in premature infants As rates of prematurity are increasing, so […]

Molecular Mechanisms of Trophoblast Stem Cell Specification and Self-Renewal

Prematurity/preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal death in the U.S. and in California. During an average day in California, 149 babies are born preterm. These babies are at increased risk for long-term disabilities, including cerebral palsy, gastrointestinal problems, and vision and hearing loss. Many premature babies also suffer from low birth weight, which […]

Skeletogenic Neural Crest Cells in Embryonic Development and Adult Regeneration of the Jaw

The goal of this proposal is to develop cell-based therapies that lead to the better healing of traumatic head injuries. Our first strategy will be to use genetics and embryology in zebrafish to identify factors that can convert human embryonic stem cells into replacement skeleton for the head and face. Remarkably, the genes and mechanisms […]

Derivation and Characterization of Myeloproliferative Disorder Stem Cells from Human ES Cells

Cancer is the leading cause of death for people younger than 85. High cancer mortality rates related to resistance to therapy and malignant progression underscore the need for more sensitive diagnostic techniques as well as therapies that selectively target cells responsible for cancer propagation. Compelling studies suggest that human cancer stem cells (CSC) arise from […]

VEGF signaling in adventitial stem cells in vascular physiology and disease

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the developed world. This disease results from atherosclerosis or fatty deposits in the vessel wall that causes blockage of coronary arteries. Blockage of these arteries cut off supplies of nutrients and oxygen to the heart muscle, causing heart attacks, heart failure or sudden death. To […]

Mechanisms of chromatin dynamics at enhancers during ES cell differentiation

The human ES cells are euploid cells that can proliferate without limit and maintain the potential to differentiate into all cell types. Differentiation of human ES cells involves selective activation or silencing of genes, a process that involves not only combinatorial interactions between the cis-regulatory sequences and DNA binding transcription factors, but also post-translational histone […]

Stem Cells in Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the most deadly cancer worldwide and accounts for more deaths than prostate cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer combined. Non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for about 85% of all lung cancers. The current 5-year survival rate for all stages of NSCLC is only 15%. Although early stage lung cancer has […]

Molecular mechanisms governing hESC and iPS cell self-renewal and pluripotency

A major problem in regenerative medicine today is that stem cells have the ability to cause tumors and in most cases we currently lack methods to make them safe. For example, two of the most promising stem cells for regenerative medicine, human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), both readily cause […]