Project 1: Generation of therapeutically relevant neural lineages from hPSCs
Access to unlimited numbers of specific cell types on demand has been a long-standing goal in regenerative medicine. Recent advances in the stem cell field suggest that directed differentiation (that is, the generation of unlimited numbers of authentic and genetically matched cell types for cell therapy) could indeed translate into effective therapies for currently intractable disorders. The Ryan lab is attempting to improve protocols to generate both oligodendrocyte and neuronal precursor cells to promote cell therapy after injury. Our focus is on the repopulation of neurons and oligodendrocytes lost in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. To this end we are assessing new ways to generate high yields of neurons and oligodendrocytes as well as their ability to functionally incorporate into living tissue.