Xi (Charlie) Ren, Ph.D.
Instructor in Surgery
My graduate work has focused on the genetic regulation of vascular endothelial and hematopoietic development using zebrafish as a model system. My work has elucidated a genetic network directing the transition from vascular endothelial cells to hematopoietic stem cells. This work has been published in Blood, and was invited for an oral presentation on the 7th European Zebrafish Meeting. My recent work was to use chemical genomic approach to explore novel compounds and pathways regulating zebrafish vasculogenesis and hematopoiesis. Our project at Dr. Harald Ott’s lab will regenerate a functional lung by re-seeding the acellular matrix with pulmonary epithelial cells and vascular endothelial cells. I will be focusing on the re-construction of the vascular network, which supports and facilitates the regeneration of other cell types within the lung. Given my background in the developmental genetics of vascular endothelial cells, I will make effort to derive proper endothelial cells from human embryonic stem (hES) cells, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and progenitor cells in the bone marrow. I will also test the regenerative capability of endothelial cells at different differentiation stages, and find out the optimal composition of medium to support the proliferation and differentiation of vascular endothelial cells within the acellular scaffold. The above three issues, if addressed, will provide valuable information about developing a protocol to re-build a functional vascular network within a regenerating lung.