Student working on a research project.

Stem Cell Biology And Application

Bone marrow provides the structural and functional environment for the generation of hematopoietic stem cells as well as non-hematopoietic stem cells, which are often described as marrow stromal or mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs can be readily isolated and amplified from a small aspirate of bone marrow. Ex vivo expanded MSCs retain their multi-lineage potentials, and typically express multiple surface markers such as CD29, CD44, CD73, CD90, CD105, and CD106. MSCs produce a plethora of trophic factors known to promote tissue regeneration. We have been studying the biology and genetic engineering of MSCs for therapeutic applications. The growth, differentiation, and trophic factor secretion potentials of MSCs are strongly influenced by multiple signaling pathways. A thorough understanding of these regulatory processes can lead to optimized therapeutic strategies for tissue regeneration. We have explored the immunomodulatory property of MSCs in our cell transplantation studies, and found that large quantities of human and porcine MSCs can be implanted in immunocompetent pigs, mice, and hamsters without inflaming the host immune system. These studies show that MSCs improve cardiac function in the porcine myocardial ischemia and hamster heart failure models. Implanted MSCs promote tissue regeneration by recruiting bone marrow progenitor cells and activating local host stem cell niches. These attributes of MSCs are mediated by inter-tissue cross-talk mechanisms involving signaling molecules such as JAK/STAT3, integrins, VEGF receptors, and Wnt/b-catenin. Our long-term goal is to generate clinically relevant stem cell information that may be used to achieve robust therapeutic effects for a broad spectrum of human diseases and lower the cost of future stem cell therapy.

Research Project Information

Disciplines: Biomedical Sciences, Biochemistry, Molecular And Cell Biology
Student Skill-Set Needed: Juniors and seniors with good understanding of cell biology and biochemistry
Compensation: Academic Credit, Volunteer, Work Study,
Available: Fall, Spring, Summer


For further information on this opportunity, or to apply, contact:

Faculty Member: Techung Lee
Department: Biochemistry
Office: 351 Biomedical Research Bldg.
Phone: 829-3106