Bioengineering and Biomaterials
Bioprocess development, scale-up and optimization
To accelerate our efforts to produce therapeutic cells such as beta cells and EPCs, we are developing screening methodologies to systematically optimize cell culture conditions. For example, we have applied statistical design of experiments and high-content imaging to identify compounds that enhance pancreatic duct cell proliferation. Although duct cells unlikely contribute to beta cell regeneration in adults, beta cells arise from progenitors within the duct during development. The duct cells could therefore be reprogrammed to generate beta cells. Another potential beta cell source are other adult cell types reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells. Although beta cell progenitors can be efficiently derived in vitro from pluripotent stem cells, obtaining fully mature beta cells in a reproducible manner is challenging. We are developing novel screening tools that could help overcome the last roadblock towards robust production of beta cells from pluripotent stem cells.