Stem Cell Differentiation

Embryonic stem cells (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) in culture undergo, given the right conditions, differentiation into derivatives of all three germ layers, i.e. ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm. Since cardiac muscle cells are a derivative of the mesoderm, our particular interest lies in the understanding of this differentiation pathway. We are studying the role of Wnt signaling (canonical and non- canonical Wnt pathways and its antagonists), epigenetic changes (chromatin remodeling), and transcriptional regulation in the differentiation of undifferentiated stem cells to highly differentiated cardiac muscle cells, endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells.