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Rutgers IGERT Trainee Proposes a Novel Predictive Approach to Parse Stem Cell Fates


Rutgers IGERT on Stem Cell Science and Engineering is one of the first national training programs to foster the development of interdisciplinary tools for elucidating and manipulating stem cells. Rutgers IGERT trainee, Matthew Treiser, and his advisor, Professor Prabhas Moghe, along with a large team of collaborators have put forth a major advance in the area of profiling of stem cells. Treiser’s study involved high content imaging of human bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells when cultured in various microenvironments that induced the stem cells to adopt distinct lineages. It usually takes 2-3 weeks to establish the final lineage fates of such cells, whether bone or fat or cartilage, etc. Treiser’s methodology involves morphometric profiling of the organization of a major cytoskeletal protein, followed by multidimensional scaling based dimensionality reduction of the large number of cytoskeletal descriptors. This could successfully parse cells within mixed populations within the first 24-48 hours. Further, the “decision-making” process of stem cell fates could be tracked over time and conditions that accelerate or retard the kinetics could be identified. Treiser’s approach is multidisciplinary as it integrates imaging, modeling, biomaterials and advances in cell and molecular biology. These findings were recently presented at the Stem Cell Symposium at American Chemical Society and AIChE and are being submitted to publication at a leading journal.

Address Goals

The stem cell profiling approach advanced by Rutgers IGERT research will help elucidate stem cell differentiation and transformation fates, which are complex processes whose design poses a considerable challenge in using stem cells for therapies in regenerative medicine or biotechnology. This discovery that early morphologic features of stem cells can hold insights into their longer term phenomena and behaviors could be exploited to rapidly screen biomaterials that strategically induce specific tissue lineages for tissue engineering. This in turn could accelerate the pace of discovery and development of promising new engineered biomaterials as transplantable substrates for stem cells. These advances were fostered by the interdisciplinary flavor of the Rutgers IGERT on Stem Cells.