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Members of CAS, CAE
National Outstanding Young Scientists Award
Principal Investigators
Address: 320 Yue Yang Road, Shanghai 200031, P.R. China
Tel: 86-21-54920000
Fax: 86-21-54921011
Email: sibcb@sibs.ac.cn
Website: www.sibcb.ac.cn
Principal Investigators
Ph.D., Professor
Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Yue-yang Road, Shanghai 200031, China.
Email: xcheng@@sibcb.ac.cn

Research Areas
Directed Differentiation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

Research Interests
Human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), including embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), hold tremendous therapeutic promise owing to their unlimited in vitro proliferation capacity and the potential to generate all cell types. These unique features made them ideal candidates for modeling mammalian development and diseases, as well as new sources for cell-based therapies. To realize the potential, it is essential to control the differentiation of these cells towards desired lineages. Developmental biology has offered important insights into key signaling pathways regulating PSC differentiation, resulting in advances in the efficient induction many cells types including those of liver and pancreas. My research program focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate endoderm and mesoderm development utilizing the in vitro differentiation of PSCs, as well as the generation of functional mature cell types aimed for cell replacement therapies.
The major area of interest in the lab is endoderm formation. We are studying a unique human PSC-derived endodermal stem cell population termed EP cells. Endoderm stem cells have the ability to be expanded in culture indefinitely yet lack teratoma-forming potential, and have demonstrated the ability to efficiently generate many endoderm-derived tissues such as liver, pancreas, intestine, lung and thymus. Thus, EP cell lines provide a powerful reagent to study how different gut tissues are specified from a common multipotent endodermal progenitor and to optimize mono-lineage differentiation. We are studying the signaling and transcriptional pathways that regulate endoderm stem cell generation, maintenance and differentiation.
We are also utilizing primate (human and Rhesus monkey) endodermal stem cell populations as a model to study diseases, and as a new starting material to generate pure, non-tumorigenic, functional mature cells of liver, pancreas and thymus for therapeutic purposes. We are also interested in generating various mesodermal populations from PSCs. These populations will be utilized as a platform to study the interaction between mesoderm and endoderm, as well as a strategy to optimize the production of fully functional cells for tissue replacement therapies.

Selected Publications

  1. Cheng X, Tiyaboonchia A, Gadue P. Endodermal Stem Cell Populations Derived from Pluripotent Stem Cells. Curr Opin Cell Biol (2013); 25(2): 265-71.
  2. Cheng X, Ying L, Lu L, Galvão AM, Mills JA, Lin HC, Kotton DN, Shen SS, Nostro MC, Choi JK, Weiss MJ, French DL, Gadue P. Self-Renewing Endodermal Progenitor Lines Generated from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. Cell Stem Cell (2012); 10(4): 371C84.
  3. Outten J, Cheng X, Gadue P, French DL, Diamond SL. A high-throughput multiplexed screening assay for optimizing serum-free differentiation protocols of human embryonic stem cells. Stem Cell Research (2011); 6(2): 129-42.
  4. Cheng X, Gadue P. Liver regeneration from induced pluripotent stem cells. Molecular Therapy (2010); 18(12): 2044-5.
  5. Gadue P, Gouon-Evans V, Cheng X, Wandzioch E, Zaret KS, Grompe M, Streeter PR, Keller GM. The generation of monoclonal antibodies specific for cell surface molecules expressed on early mouse endoderm. Stem Cells (2009); 27(9): 2103-2113. PMID: 19522011.
  6. Chen VC, Stull R, Joo D, Cheng X, Keller G. Notch signaling respecifies the hemangioblast to a cardiac fate. Nature Biotechnology (2008) 26: 1169-78.
  7. Cheng X, Huber TL, Chen VC, Gadue P, Keller GM. Numb mediates the interaction between Wnt and Notch to modulate primitive erythropoietic specification from the hemangioblast. Development (2008); 135: 3447-3458. PMID: 18799543.
  8. Nostro MC, Cheng X, Keller GM, Gadue P. Wnt, Activin and BMP signaling regulate distinct stages in the developmental pathway from embryonic stem cell to blood. Cell Stem Cell (2008); 2:60-71. PMID: 18371422.

Education Background & Academic Experience
2013-present: Principal Investigator, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, SIBS, CAS, China
2009-2013: Postdoctoral fellow and research associate, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Pathology, Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics; Human Embryonic Stem Cell and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Core, Children¨s Hospital of Philadelphia. Advisor: Dr. Paul Gadue
2002-2009: Ph.D. in Biomedical Science Mount Sinai School of Medicine of New York University, NY. Advisor: Dr. Gordon Keller
1997-2000: M.S. in Molecular Biology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China; Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China, , Advisor: Dr Qun Wei, Dr. Dakang Song, and Dr. Bingsheng Qiu
1993-1997: B.S. in Biochemistry, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

Research Team


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