Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Stem Cell

Forni Lab

Lab Website

Correct development of the nose is necessary for detection of environmental odorants but is also crucial for maturation and function of the reproductive system. In fact, during embryonic development a population of neurons, called gonadotropin-releasing hormone-1 neurons (GnRH-1), migrate from the nose to the brain. Once in the brain, these neurons control the reproductive axis. Genetic defects that affect the formation of the nasal/olfactory structures, as well as migration, survival and/or function of GnRH-1 neurons lead to aberrant sexual development and sterility. Our understanding of who are the stem cells and what is the embryonic origin in the developing nose has only recently began, which leaves many blanks yet to be filled.

Xie Lab

Lab Website

We aim at applying nanotechnology to stem cell research in order to create stem cell-based platform for understanding adipogenesis and breast cancer. Recent studies have shown that the microenvironment influenced stem cell fate decisions. Using nanotechnology we are able to manipulate stem cell microenvironments and direct stem cell behaviors. Currently, we are investigating the stem cell-microenvironment interaction in an in vivo-like, 3-D setting. In particular, we are examining the role of biomaterials, surface chemistry, and bio-patterning in the maintenance and differentiation of embryonic stem cells. The students will perform biomaterials fabrication and characterization, stem cell culture, immunocytochemistry, Western blot analysis, PCR, optical and fluorescence microscopy, and spectrophotometry depending on the project assigned.

Rangan Lab

Lab Website

The goal of the Rangan Laboratory is to understand how a stem cell fate is initiated, maintained and terminated. Stem cells have the capacity to both self-renew and differentiate. Improper differentiation or self-renewal of stem cells can result in a loss of homeostasis, which has been implicated in human afflictions such as cancer and degenerative diseases.