BME PhD Prospectus Defense – George Kwong

2:00 pm on Monday, September 8, 2014
44 Cummington Mall, Room 401
Title: "Double-Reporter Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Vascular Cell Sheet Engineering"

Joyce Y. Wong (Advisor, Chair)
Darrell N. Kotton
Michael L. Smith
Joe Tien

Current treatments for coronary heart disease include balloon angioplasty, stenting, and coronary artery bypass surgery; however, these treatments have limitations, including restenosis, multiple sites of surgery for harvesting vessels, and lack of a suitable autologous graft. Synthetic grafts and tissue-engineered blood vessels (TEBVs) have overcome some of these limitations and have also sought to avoid issues with thrombosis or occlusion; however, immunogenicity is still a problem. The recent breakthrough of reprogramming adult somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provides an alternative cell source, where non-immunogenic cells of multiple lineages can be derived from patient-specific iPSCs. In this study, we propose to construct an entirely cellular TEBV using cell sheets of differentiated iPSCs for replacing diseased or damaged arteries. The role of the surrounding tissue microenvironment on the phenotype of iPS-derived smooth muscle cells (SMCs) will be studied using a co-culture system in order to derive SMCs with a more arterial vascular phenotype. The mechanics of cell sheets and the vascular graft from iPS-derived SMCs will be determined.