We are interested in stem cell biology and application. We first discovered the key factors and signalling to sustain self-renewal and prolonged culture of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) (Nat. Biotechnol. 2002; Nat. Methods 2005; Cell Stem Cell 2008) and revealed recurrent copy number variations in human induced pluripotent stem cells (Nat. Biotechnol. 2011). We treated mouse and monkey models of multiple sclerosis, colitis (Stem Cell Reports 2014; Stem Cells 2016), osteoarthritis (Theranostics, 2019a), and skin wound (Theranostics, 2019b) with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) differentiated from hESCs via trophoblasts (T-MSC – patented) and observed superior efficacy. We also found T-MSCs enhance human fat engraftment in nude mice (Biomaterials, 2021). T-MSCs are used as an Investigational New Drug (IND) to treat multiple sclerosis patients after the U.S. FDA lifted the hold. In addition, we found that stem cells in spheroids can be stored under ambient conditions for more than 10 days without need for cryopreservation (Biomaterials 2017). Recently, we analysed the distribution, survival, and biosafety of T-MSCs (either dissociated cells or spheroids) in monkeys following i.v. injection (Biomaterials in press). Currently, we are interested to study:
Exploring novel therapeutic applications of T-MSCs;
Addressing the fate, immunogenicity, and biosafety of T-MSCs;
Studying the origin, development, and heterogeneity of MSCs.