Therapeutic/Technology: Exploring stem cell mechanisms

Use of human iPS cells to study spinal muscular atrophy

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is one of the most common autosomal recessive disorders that cause infant mortality. SMA is caused by loss of the Survival of Motor Neuron (SMN) protein, resulting in motor neuron (MN) degeneration in the spinal cord. Although SMN protein plays diverse roles in RNA metabolism and is expressed in all cells, […]

Studying neurotransmission of normal and diseased human ES cell-derived neurons in vivo

Stem cells, including human embryonic stem cells, provide extraordinary new opportunities to model human diseases and may serve as platforms for drug screening and validation. Especially with the ever-improving effective and safe methodologies to produce genetically identical human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), increasing number of patient-specific iPSCs will be generated, which will enormously facilitate […]

Viral-host interactions affecting neural differentiation of human progenitors

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the major cause of birth defects, almost all of which are neuronal in origin. Approximately 1% of newborns are infected, and of the 13% that are symptomatic at birth, 50% will have severe permanent hearing deficits, vision loss, motor impairment, and mental retardation. At least 14% of asymptomatic infants also will […]

Correlated time-lapse imaging and single cell molecular analysis of human embryo development

We understand little about human development especially at the earliest stages. Yet human developmental biology is very important to stem cell biology and regenerative medicine for two reasons: 1) Understanding human developmental pathways especially of embryonic differentiation will inform our efforts to derive pluripotent stem cells and differentiate them to stable progenitors that are suitable […]

Discovery of mechanisms that control epigenetic states in human reprogramming and pluripotent cells

The CIRM Basic Biology Award III was developed to support basic research that enables the realization of the full potential of human stem cells and reprogrammed cells for therapies and as tools for biomedical innovation. This is particularly important since many fundamental issues related to the regulation of stem cell fate and reprogramming, especially with […]

Molecular basis of human ES cell neurovascular differentiation and co-patterning

During human development, autonomic neurons align with and pattern alongside blood vessels. This patterning allows the autonomic nervous system to control the vascular function a phenomenon that is very useful during situations such as “fight or flight” responses where the blood vessels need to respond rapidly and involuntarily to stimuli. Since the alignment of blood […]

Investigation of synaptic defects in autism using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of neurodevelopmental diseases that occur in as many as 1 in 150 children in the United States. Three hallmarks of autism are dysfunctional communication, impaired social interaction, and restricted and repetitive interests and activities. Even though no single genetic defect has been ascribed to having a causative role […]

Functional characterization of mutational load in nuclear reprogramming and differentiation

One of the most potentially powerful aspects of regenerative medicine is stem cell therapy. In this therapy, healthy tissues derived from stem cells will be implanted into patients with damaged tissue in order to restore function. However, there is currently a risk of immune rejection. Human induced pluripotent stem (hiPS) cells have the potential to […]

Phenotypic Analysis of Human ES Cell-Derived Muscle Stem Cells

We study human muscle development, and are actively investigating potential cell-based therapies for the treatment of degenerative muscle diseases, such as muscle dystrophy. This project will define the pathway that muscle stem cells follow as they form new muscle, and identify which muscle stem cells are most useful for therapy. Our approach will be to […]

Triplet Repeat Instability in Human iPSCs

Over twenty human genetic diseases are caused by expansion of simple DNA sequences composed of repeats of three nucleotides (such as CAG, CTG, CGG and GAA) within essential genes. These repeats can occur within the region of a gene that encodes the protein, generally resulting in proteins with large stretches of repeats of just one […]