In a recent study in the journal Cell, Kyle Loh and colleagues in Irving Weissman’s group established a rapid protocol for converting human pluripotent stem cells into mesoderm—the progenitors for heart, skeleton, muscles and a variety of other critical tissue types in our bodies. The strategy effectively recapitulates signaling events at play in normal embryonic development, allowing for the purification of specific mesodermal sub-types from differentiated human stem cells. The approach could enable new insights into human disease, provide novel cell targets for therapeutic screening, and further down the road, cell implants to treat injury or disease.
Dr. Mariani’s laboratory studies the development and repair of the mammalian skeleton, with an emphasis on the ribs and handplate. They use standard and conditional knock-out techniques in mouse models and mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells.