Developmental Biology

Initiative in Regenerative Medicine

The Department of Developmental Biology is partnering with the Department of Surgery and the Department of Bioengineering in a new initiative in Regenerative Medicine at Stanford.

The past 20 years of research in the field of developmental biology has led to remarkable advances in understanding the rules of pattern formation, cell fate choices, cell growth, and differentiation that underlie embryonic development and the continuous production of many differentiated cell types throughout adulthood. We now hope to apply this knowledge toward the development of new medical strategies: our goal - an era of Regenerative Medicine in which the capacity for growth and healing present in embryos can be extended into later stages of life, damaged cell types can be replaced, or failing organs can be regenerated from a patient's cells or from cultured cells from a donor.

Many laboratories at Stanford investigate basic mechanisms relevant to Regenerative Medicine, from generation of skin, to bone and joint formation, to pancreatic beta cell differentiation, to synapse formation and myelination of neurons, to the mechanisms that regulate the behavior of adult stem cells. Research in the Department of Developmental Biology explores fundamental underlying mechanisms of pattern formation, cell fate specification, growth regulation and differentiation - key mechanisms of embryonic development that must be recapitulated for successful regeneration. We are partnering with the Departments of Bioengineering and Surgery to lead a Stanford wide group of faculty from several disciplines in a concerted effort to focus these many disparate lines of investigation on the long range goal of Regenerative Medicine. This program will bring together geneticists, cell biologists, biochemists, computer scientists, and tissue engineers to develop predictive modeling and detailed rules for recapturing the embryonic programs used to make a kidney, heart, or pancreas, regrow neuronal connections, or produce therapeutically useful populations of cells.

For further information on this new initiative, contact:

Dr. Margaret Fuller (Developmental Biology) 
Dr. Scott Delp (Bioengineering) 
Dr. Michael Longaker M.D. (Surgery) 

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