Principal Investigator: Jiwu Wang, PhD
email: jiwuwang at scintillon dot org
Research Focus: RNA-related cellular processes,iPSC, artificial organelles
RNA-related cellular processes. My team has been studying the molecular biology of RNA-related cellular processes, such as pre-mRNA splicing, RNA interference (RNAi), microRNA (miRNA) in developmental control, and mRNA as a platform for transgene.
Many of our most exciting research projects were derived from what we had learned about RNA. We are performing experiment in order to answer questions such as: can we use mRNA as the genetic codes to select antibodies by an in vitro display or transcriptome sequencing? Can protein factors that are critical in vivo be delivered in the form of modified mRNAs instead of recombinant proteins? Can we use transfected mRNA/miRNA to determine in vitro cellular fate instead of using growth factors and small molecules for better specificity? Can we use only RNA molecules to edit the chromosome of mammalian cells in order to maintain the protocol completely footprint-free, similar to what we have demonstrated for induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) production?
Cell differentiation. We are also curious about how gene expression cascades control cell differentiation, in conjunction with miRNA networks, particularly in adipogenesis. Our method of investigating obesity and diabetes development has been to analyze adipocytes from healthy vs patients through bioinformatics analysis. We plan to apply our recently developed iPSC technologies, with knocked-in biomarkers using our superior fluorescent proteins (FPs), to follow fat cell development.
One of our aims is to create brown fat cells (BFCs, the good fat cells) from patient-specific iPSCs that can be ultimately applied to patients. We use similar strategies to study how iPSCs differentiate into neuronal cells, cardiomyocytes, hepatocytes, muscle cells, etc. Recently, we showed that stem cells can be turned into platelets on a scale potentially suitable for clinical applications.
Llama image courtesy of Claus Thiim