Research Areas

Stem-Cell Based Therapy

Our research effort in the Arumugaswami Laboratory is focused on developing stem cell-based therapy for liver and bile duct regeneration. More than 500 million people are affected with liver ailments worldwide. Viral hepatitis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and alcohol toxicity can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. Decompensated liver disease requires liver transplantation. A shortage of donor organs requires alternative treatment options. Pluripotent stem cell-derived hepatic cells are a promising cell therapy candidate. Engraftment inefficiency of transplanted cells is a rate-limiting step.

Currently, we are investigating various biological factors that can help improve the cellular engraftment. Furthermore, we are studying the immunological signatures of pluripotent stem cell-derived hepatic cells to better understand the immune rejection dynamic, which can influence the engraftment inefficiency. In addition, the Arumugaswami Lab focuses on developing strategies for hepatobiliary tissue engineering and micro-fluidic based bioartificial liver.

Humanized mouse model for liver engraftment study. The mice were xenografted with luciferase-labeled human pluripotent stem cell-derived liver progenitors. One week post-engraftment the animals were imaged using Xenogen In Vivo Imaging System.