Project Objective: Research Insights

Genetic Enhancement of the Immune Response to Melanoma via hESC-derived T cells

The overall goal of the proposed studies is to utilize human gene therapy approach using human embryonic stem cells to direct our body’s defenses to specifically attack melanoma tumor cells. Current technologies try to accomplish this by genetically manipulating certain circulating T lymphocytes, such that they will target tumor cells. T lymphocytes are the major […]

Generation of forebrain neurons from human embryonic stem cells

The goal of this proposal is to generate forebrain neurons from human embryonic stem cells. Our general strategy is to sequentially expose ES cells to signals that lead to differentiation along a neuronal lineage, and to select for cells that display characteristics of forebrain neurons. These cells would then be used in transplantation experiments to […]

Genetic modification of the human genome to resist HIV-1 infection and/or disease progression

The proposed studies describe the genetic approaches utilizing human embryonic stem cells to suppress and/or eliminate the expression of the human protein CCR5. CCR5 is found on the surface of white blood cells. HIV-1 attaches to CCR5 and uses CCR5 to enter into its target cells. Our approach is to utilize established as well as […]

Role of Mitochondria in Self-Renewal Versus Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) hold great potential for treating multiple human dread diseases, including but not limited to cancer, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer disease, and certain types of heart failure. However, a growing appreciation exists for the notion that not all hESCs have identical capabilities in correcting or ameliorating disease and not all hESCs will […]

Development of Neuro-Coupled Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Cardiac Pacemaker Cells.

Optimal cardiac function depends on the properly coordinated cardiac conduction system (CCS). The CCS is a group of specialized cells responsible for generating cardiac rhythm and conducting these signals efficiently to working myocardium. This specialized CCS includes the sinoatrial node, atrioventricular node and His-Purkinje system. These specialized pacemaking /conducting cells have different properties from the […]

Assessing the role of Eph/ephrin signaling in hESC growth and differentiation

An important aspect of understanding stem cell biology is to have a basic understanding of the processes that balance stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. Stem cell proliferation and differentiation signals are at least partially regulated by direct contact between cells. For example, stem cells normally reside in a specific microenvironment, or “niche”, that integrates specific […]

Retinoic Acid-FGF Antagonism during Motor Neuron Differentiation of Human ES Cells

Retinoic acid is a metabolic derivative of vitamin A that has recently been shown to stimulate differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into motor neurons. However, almost nothing is known about how retinoic acid may perform this function. The recent discovery that retinoic acid antagonizes the action of fibroblast growth factor suggests a possible mechanism […]

Using human embryonic stem cells to treat radiation-induced stem cell loss: Benefits vs cancer risk

A variety of stem cells exist in humans throughout life and maintain their ability to divide and change into multiple cell types. Different types of adult derived stem cells occur throughout the body, and reside within specific tissues that serve as a reserve pool of cells that can replenish other cells lost due to aging, […]

In Vivo Molecular Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Murine Model of Myocardial Infarction

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has emerged as one of the predominant modalities to evaluate the effects of stem cells in restoring the injured myocardium. However, MRI does not enable assessment of a fundamental issue in cell therapy, survival of the transplanted cells. The transplanted human embryonic cells (hESC) must at the very least survive to […]

MicroRNAs in Human Stem Cell Differentiation and Mental Disorders

Many mental disorders are closely associated with problems that occur during brain development in early life. For instance, by 2 years of age, autistic children have larger brains than normal kids, likely due to, at least in part, excess production of neurons and support cells, the building blocks of the nervous system. In autistic brains, […]