Dr. Dennis Kostka, Assistant Professor in the Department of Developmental Biology, has been awarded a 2-year 2014 March of Dimes Basil O'Connor Research Award. The goal of this grant entitled "Genome-wide Transcriptional Regulation During Embryonic Left-Right Patterning" is to employ computational techniques to identify and characterize gene regulatory enhancer sequences. Dr. Kostka joined the department as an Assistant Professor in 2012 and his research focuses on computational analysis of large-scale genomics data sets.
Dr. Donghun Shin and his colleagues reported in Gastroenterology (October, 2013), an article entitled, "Extensive conversion of hepatic biliary epithelial cells to hepatocytes after near total loss of hepatocytes in zebrafish." There was controversy about the extent to which biliary epithelial cells can contribute to the regenerating hepatocyte population, and thereby to liver recovery. This article clearly showed that biliary epithelial cells gave rise to most of the regenerating hepatocytes in zebrafish after severe hepatocyte loss and thereby contributed to liver recovery, highlighting the importance of biliary epithelial cells as a source of regenerating hepatocytes after severe liver damage. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24148620
Under the mentorship of Dr. Neil Hukriede, graduate student Lauren Brilli was recently awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual National Research Service F30 Fellowship Award through NIDDK. The grant is titled "Elucidating the Mechanisms of Kidney Regeneration and Therapeutic Augmentation," and will provide insight into the signaling pathways involved in kidney regeneration after acute kidney injury by examining the role of a novel class of histone deacetylase inhibitors to promote renal proliferation and survival in zebrafish. This award is specific for trainees enrolled in combined MD/PhD programs and will provide four years of financial support.
Dr. Lei Yang and his colleagues reported in Nature Communications (August, 2013), an article entitled, "Repopulation of Decellularized Mouse Heart with Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Cardiovascular Progenitor Cells". They demonstrated the reconstruction of a beating engineered heart comprising of human cardiac cells exhibiting spontaneous contractions that generated mechanical force and exhibited drug responsiveness. This study is the first demonstration of the efficacy of human iPS cell derived cardiac progenitors for heart tissue engineering and is a significant advancement towards the goal to regenerate the human heart.
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