Dr. Naoki Nakayama
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Institute of Molecular Medicine
Description: My long-term research interest is the developmental biology of multipotential adult stem cells such as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and skeletal stem/progenitor cells such as MSCs. We are particularly interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which pluripotent stem (PS) cells give rise to such multipotential tissue-specific stem cells; how stem cells lose their potency, and how they chose different fates. My laboratory has been trying to establish in vitro systems, with which to pursue our interests, by elucidating essential signaling events and identifying, isolating and characterizing cellular intermediates that lead to hematopoietic or skeletal stem/progenitor cells from mouse and human PS cells. Thus far, we have succeeded in deriving primitive hematopoietic progenitor cells and various lineage-specific skeletal stem/progenitor cells by manipulating WNT, BMP, Nodal/Activin/TGFβ, FGF and Notch signaling mechanisms.
Projects/Techniques: Potential projects for students: a) Mechanism of proliferation without loss of developmental potential of chondrogenic ectomesenchymal cells derived from human PS cells; b) Molecular mechanism of the hematopoietic cell genesis from human endothelial cells; c) Molecular mechanism of the MSC genesis from human endothelial cells through Endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition.
In addition to the standard cellular molecular biology techniques, including RT-PCR, lenti/retrovirus-mediated gene transfer, ELISA, immunofluorescence staining, my laboratory uses specialized techniques for stem cell culture and transplantation into immunocompromised mice. There will be a day-to-day training for sterile handling, special cell harvesting and storage procedures, reduced O2 culture, growth factor/cytokine handling, fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), sterile mouse handling, microsurgical techniques, and various transplantation methods.