Department of Bioengineering
Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Pluripotent stem cells derived vascular endothelial cells (ECs) have enormous potential to be used in a variety of therapeutic areas such as tissue engineering of vascular grafts and re-vascularization of ischemic tissues. It is also much desired to obtain homogeneous culture of functional arterial or venous ECs for specific applications. To date, various protocols have been developed to differentiate ESCs toward vascular ECs. However, ECs derived from ESCs using current methods lack arterial or venous specific phenotypes. Therefore, developing refined method of arterial-venous differentiation is critically needed to address this gap. Based on the findings of vascular development, we hypothesize that embryonic stem cell derived Flk1+Nrp1+ cells serve as arterial EC progenitors. We think that this subset cell population is predisposed to arterial differentiation and can be selected to guide arterial differentiation in combination with environmental cues. My lab is currently developing methods to engineer optimal in vitro environments that guide ESCs into arterial and venous cell fate and compare their functional consequences in tissue engineering applications. In addition, we are studying the role of transcription factor COUP-TFII & Sox17 in the controlling of the arterial and venous cell fate as well as determining their functions in the adult vessel and vascular disease process. In this talk, I will illustrate our research effort in the arterial venous differentiation of embryonic stem cells and the transcriptional mechanisms that lead to the distinct functional phenotypes of arteries and veins and their different susceptibility to vascular diseases.
Dr. Dai is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Northeastern University. Dr. Dai received his B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Peking University, Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from MIT’s HST Program (Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology). He completed his Post-doctoral training in Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School (Center for Excellence in Vascular Biology). Current researches in his lab focus on the 3-D bioprinting technology, stem cells and vascular bioengineering, and are funded by major grants from NSF, NIH and American Heart Association. Dr. Dai received the Scientist Development Award from American Heart Association, Faculty Early Career Award from National Science Foundation, Rising Star Award from Biomedical Engineering Society, Institute’s Faculty Career Award (RPI), and College of Engineering Faculty Fellow (Northeastern).