The Hu Lab has a major focus on seeking a better understanding of the biology, physiology, pathology and clinical applications of pluripotent stem cells and non-coding RNAs in cardiovascular diseases. Our ultimate goals are to elaborate and develop fundamental principles and new technology of cell therapy and gene therapy on cardiovascular diseases, and translate the novel treatments to therapeutic applications. Our current research is focused on three major directions.
Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) include embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), yet the mechanisms of PSCs and directed differentiation into cardiovascular cells (cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells) remain poorly investigated. We are studying cardiovascular differentiation/development in human PSCs to define the underlying epigenetic molecular events that enable get more differentiated and mature cardiovascular cells for translational applications.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are generated directly from adult cells with introduction of specific transcription factors. iPSCs hold great promise in the field of personalized regenerative therapy, modeling human diseases, drug screening/analysis and development studies. We are developing the translational applications with iPSCs in cardiovascular diseases.
We are employing the transgenic and/or knockout mice to study the mechanism of cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction (MI) and hypertrophy cardiomyopathy (HCM). We have the focus on the field of non-coding RNAs specifically, including miRNAs, lncRNAs, circRNAs, and among others. We are expecting to illuminate the underlying mechanism and developing novel targets of cardiovascular gene therapy.