Our lab explores the potential of stem cells for cartilage and bone regeneration. We are interested in both basic and translational research focusing on the biology and applications of stem cells, including mesenchymal stem/stromal cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, derived from human tissues. For more than 10 years, our laboratory has identified a number of key molecules and mechanisms involved in cartilage- and bone-specific differentiation of stem cells and developed viable approaches to regenerate the tissues.
The following 3 areas are our research focuses.
- Rejuvenation of Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells
Aging/cellular senescence decreases the growth and differentiation potential of stem cells. Cellular reprogramming is a laboratory technique that has been shown capable of ameliorating cellular senescence. Our research focuses on studying cellular and molecular changes of stem cells in response to cellular reprogramming to develop approaches to rejuvenate aging stem cells.
- Derivation of Hyaline Chondrocytes from Stem Cells
Regeneration of hyaline cartilage from stem cells remains a major challenge. To address the challenge, controlled induction of chondrogenesis in stem cells following developmental paths is considered a promising strategy. We work on identifying and manipulating molecular regulators of the biological process to direct stem cells into hyaline chondrocytes in a controlled manner.
- Osteoarthritis Modeling and Drug Screening
Induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with osteoarthritis can recapitulate the process of the disease formation in culture, providing a model based on human cells which otherwise is hard to obtain for the study of osteoarthritis. We use the iPSC-based chondrogenic model to identify key disease-associated molecules as therapeutic targets for the development of potential treatments.