Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Shu Chien Lab in New Research Building to Investigate Best Environment to Grow Stem Cells

The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine recently opened its doors on the Torrey Pines Mesa and will be home to 24 principal investigators, including Bioengineering Professor Shu Chien.

Chien’s lab will be dedicated to further developing a technology that allows scientists to identify the best environments to grow stem cells. Creating these environments requires mixing many proteins in a wide range of combinations. The new technology allows researchers to test hundreds of them at once.
Scientists also will investigate the role these proteins, and other factors, including mechanical forces, play in stem cells’ fate. For example, a stiffer matrix can steer the cells toward becoming more like bone cells, while a softer matrix leads to brain-like ones.

Karl Willert, an assistant professor, and David Brafman, a postdoctoral researcher, both in the department of cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego, will work with Chien on the project and move their labs to the consortium building.

The team also will work with Organovo, Inc., led by CEO Keith Murphy, on three-dimensional printing of tissues and organs such as blood vessels. Researchers also will work with Richard Rouse, who operates HTS Resources and will develop new printing and spotting technologies.

To learn more about the Sanford Consortium, read this story in This Week @ UC San Diego and this story in the San Diego Union-Tribune.