Researchers at the Black Family Stem Cell Institute advance stem cell biology by harnessing the potential of both embryonic and adult stem cells. This promising field presents tremendous opportunities for scientific breakthroughs that translate into medical treatments capable of replacing damaged or malignant cells with healthy stem cells, differentiated cell derivatives, or bioengineered tissues. These advances are essential for providing the foundation for regenerative therapies in diseases such as blood and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, eye, skin and liver-related diseases, Parkinson’s and neurodegenerative diseases, and certain cancers.
The Promise of Stem Cell Research
We investigate how stem cells form tissues during embryonic development and maintain organs throughout life. We ask fundamental questions about stem cell behavior, exploring how stem cells self-renew, communicate with their microenvironment, and “decide” their eventual functions. We are developing therapies that utilize tissue stem cells. In addition, we reprogram adult cells into pluripotent stem cells that can give rise to any tissue type. Growing and differentiating these cells in a controlled way will eventually allow us to replace degenerated cells and develop treatments for many diseases at their earliest stages. Our ultimate goal is to understand the mechanisms that direct stem cells to adopt specific fates so that we can develop novel, targeted therapies, and accomplish cell and tissue regeneration.
Our Collaborative Approach
The Black Family Stem Cell Institute pursues interdisciplinary research and fosters collaborations between basic and clinician scientists to ensure effective translation of discoveries from the lab bench to the clinic. Our investigators are producing reprogrammed stem cells to model human disease, test new therapies, and regenerate blood, immune cells, and tissues.