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Research

...what we do

General Research Interests

Wu laboratory combines stem cell biology and systems-based approaches involving genomics, bioinformatics and functional assays to unravel gene transcription and regulatory mechanisms governing stem cell differentiation. One major focus of our group is investigating stem cell neural differentiation and developing effective and safe treatment for spinal cord injury and neurological diseases. We are studying gene expression and the regulation of transcription factors and regulatory RNAs using next-generation sequencing technologies including RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, and ATAC-Seq etc.. These studies are crucial in understanding the molecular mechanism of stem cell neural differentiation and its clinical implications. Our goal is to identify and modulate key regulators as therapeutic targets to direct the differentiation of stem cell into desired neural cell types more efficiently, and to increase transplantation safety.

The other area of our research interest lies in the studies of the regulatory networks of hematopoietic precursor cell self-renewal and differentiation using multipotent EML (erythroid, myeloid, and lymphocytic) cell as a model system. We are using integrated genomic and proteomic approaches to identify key components that control the switch. We have identified TCF7, together with RUNX1 are important regulators in this process. Future study will generate a global interaction network and a novel and comprehensive view of the regulation of early stages of hematopoietic precursor self-renewal and differentiation. This study can serve as a model for the analysis of cell self-renewal and differentiation in general and provide insight for efficient expanding and manipulating hematopoietic precursor and stem cells.

Research Projects

  • Investigate gene expression and regulatory mechanisms during stem cell differentiation.
  • Characterize molecular signatures and identify therapeutic targets for spinal cord injury and neurological diseases.
  • Pinpoint key transcription factors and regulatory RNAs, and modulate key regulators to steer the direction of stem cell differentiation and improve efficiency.
  • Determine the molecular switch of hematopoietic precursor cell self-renewal and differentiation.
  • Network analysis of stem cell differentiation and global network integration of multiple types of omic data.