Generating tissue capable of forming blood-progenitor cells at clinical scales

Principal Investigator: 
University: 
University of British Columbia
Faculty: 
Faculty of Applied Science & Faculty of Medicine
Department: 
School of Biomedical Engineering
Award Type: 

Chronic diseases consume 67% of direct healthcare costs in Canada. Regenerative medicine (RM) is a powerful strategy to address chronic diseases. The next generation of RM therapeutics targets development of living cells and tissues to treat specific indications. Availability of stable progenitor stem cell bio-banks that can be differentiated to desired phenotypes is a crucial pre-requisite. My overarching goal is to understand how complex tissues emerge from pluripotent stem cells and use that knowledge to develop protocols to generate blood progenitor-forming tissues at clinical scales.

My approach rests on three complementary thrusts.

First, I will develop a computational model connecting the genetic code of the cells to their microenvironment to understand how interactions between the two govern cell fate.

Second, I will make pluripotent organoids to validate key parameters influencing earliest stages of stem-cell based blood development.

Finally, promising findings regarding parameters governing emergence of blood forming tissue will be tested in vitro via assays developed by the host lab, yielding pre-clinical data suitable for further technology development.

My work will reveal fundamental rules that govern the emergence of blood-forming tissues and generate new strategies for RM application. My computational approach will yield a new drug design & optimisation paradigm. The proposal will, thus, add to and reinforce BC's position as a leader in Regenerative Medicine.

Research Pillar: 
Host Institution: 
University of British Columbia
Research Location: 
UBC Biomedical Research Centre
Supervisor: 
Peter Zandstra
Year: 
2019