Wan-Ju Li

Orthopedics & Rehabilitation Department

iPSC-based skeletal regeneration; mesenchymal stem cell biology

li@ortho.wisc.edu

(608) 263-1338

5051 Wi Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705

Headshot

lab website:

https://mbrm.wisc.edu/

focus group:

Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine

research description:

I am interested in the research of musculoskeletal tissue regeneration using stem cell-based tissue engineering and cell therapy approaches. Stem cells are a cell source with great potential to function as a therapeutic agent for treatments of degenerative musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis. Stem cell-based tissue regeneration is to grow harvested stem cells in a three-dimensional, highly porous, biomimetic scaffold within a biologically favored environment in which needed biochemical and biomechanical signals are provided for stem cell proliferation and differentiation, extracellular matrix production, and tissue maturation. My research goals are 1) to maintain stem cell properties in vitro before differentiation induction, 2) to effectively differentiate stem cells into desired connective tissue lineages, 3) to promote stem cell-laden constructs to develop into functional tissues including bone, cartilage, and tendon/ligament. To achieve these goals, my group has developed and utilized unique polymeric nanofibers to imitate extracellular matrix to culture stem cells. The nanofibers function as the physical environment of a stem cell niche to maintain biological properties of stem cells. With the cues from growth factors and/or other induction molecules, stem cells cultured in nanofibers are capable of differentiating and producing tissue-specific extracellular matrix to generate musculoskeletal tissues.

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