Department of Biochemistry
Research in my laboratory is focused on stem cell biology, engineering, and therapeutic applications with an emphasis on cardiovascular repair.
We have explored the immunomodulatory property of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (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 inducing inflammatory immune responses in the host. Our research shows 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 processes 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.