Directed Differentiation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to Reconstitute Kidney Function on a Chip
Chronic kidney disease affects more than 10% of the world's population and can lead to end-stage renal failure. The limited survival rate of dialysis patients leaves organ transplantation as the best treatment option, but there is a critical shortage of organs. Core interest in my research group is to apply stem cell biology and bioengineering technologies to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of kidney development and function, and how these processes can be therapeutically harnessed to treat human kidney disease. Specifically, my research group will focus on using molecular and biophysical cues to develop robust methods for directed differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells into kidney cells. We will interface the stem cell-derived kidney cells with bioengineered scaffolds and microphysiological systems to develop patient-specific in vitro models of the kidney for applications in the discovery of novel biomarkers and therapeutics for human kidney disease. Finally, my research group will extend these studies to explore the possibility of inducing cell and tissue regeneration, thereby challenging the classic definition of the human kidney as a non-regenerative organ. The proposed research studies could advance current understanding of the mechanisms of human organ development and provide opportunities for the development of novel therapeutic modalities for human kidney disease.