Dhruv Sareen, PhD

Director, iPSC Core Facility, Regenerative Medicine Institute

Research Scientist, Neurobiology Research

Phone:(310) 248-8556
Fax:(310) 248-8066

Institute Affiliation

Regenerative Medicine Institute

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences

Awards and Activities

ISSCR Travel Award2012
UCSF Stem Cell Symposium: Best poster award2009
Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp Certificate: UW School of Business2009
Harry Karavolas Graduate Student Scholarship2002
Bachelor of Chemical Technology, First class with distinction honors2002
Editorial board responsibilities: The Journal of Rare DisordersCurrent
Society for Neuroscience2007
International Society for Stem Cell Research 2010

Research Focus

Molecular pathogenesis underlying neuro-developmental and -degenerative diseases, as well as understanding the molecular basis of signals that converge in the brain to impact energy metabolism and homeostasis in obesity. Employ human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based disease-in-a-dish models to understand the neurobiology of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), and obesity. Bio-engineer human stem cell based ex vivo organ models. Develop screening assays to test direct molecular therapeutics by high-content imaging in the iPSC-based cellular models.

Research Contributions

Independent scientist and leader in the field of pluripotent and neural system cell research. Developed and probed disease mechanisms in human iPSC-based disease models of SMA and ALS. Generated neuronal differentiation protocols from iPSCs amenable for disease modeling, high-throughput screening and regenerative medicine. Established the CSMC iPS cell Core housing one of the largest non-integrating iPS cell line repository from patients with multitude of diseases.

Current investigations include:

Using the iPSC platform to develop novel tools for drug screening on SMA patient motoneurons and dissecting mechanisms for motoneuron degeneration in ALS. Establishing a new human iPS cell model to investigate the neurobiology of obesity and connections between hypothalamic, endocrine and autonomic pathways that regulate energy homeostasis, metabolic rate, and hormone secretion. Understanding pathways of iPSC to neural cell differentiation to develop better and safer transplantation and regenerative therapies of the nervous system.

Selected Publications

  1. Ebert AD, Shelley BC, Hurley AM, Onorati M, Castiglioni V, Patitucci TN, Svendsen SP, Mattis VB, McGivern JV, Schwab AJ, Sareen D, Kim HW, Cattaneo E, Svendsen CN: EZ spheres: a stable and expandable culture system for the generation of pre-rosette multipotent stem cells from human ESCs and iPSCs. Stem Cell Res, 10(3): 417-27, 2013
  2. Saitta B, Passarini J, Sareen D, Ornelas L, Sahabian A, Argade S, Krakow D, Cohn DH, Svendsen CN, Rimoin DL: Patient-Derived Skeletal Dysplasia Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Display Abnormal Chondrogenic Marker Expression and Regulation by BMP2 and TGFß1. Stem Cells Dev., 23(13): 1464-78, 2014
  3. Sareen D, O'Rourke JG, Meera P, Muhammad AK, Grant S, Simpkinson M, Bell S, Carmona S, Ornelas L, Sahabian A, Gendron T, Petrucelli L, Baughn M, Ravits J, Harms MB, Rigo F, Bennett CF, Otis TS, Svendsen CN, Baloh RH: Targeting RNA Foci in iPSC-Derived Motor Neurons from ALS Patients with a C9ORF72 Repeat Expansion. Sci Transl Med, 5(208): 208ra149, 2013
  4. Sareen D, Gowing G, Sahabian A, Staggenborg K, Paradis R, Avalos P, Latter J, Ornelas L, Garcia L, Svendsen CN: Human induced pluripotent stem cells are a novel source of neural progenitor cells (iNPCs) that migrate and integrate in the rodent spinal cord. J. Comp. Neurol., 522(12): 2707-28, 2014
  5. Sareen D, Ebert AD, Heins BM, McGivern JV, Ornelas L, Svendsen CN: Inhibition of apoptosis blocks human motor neuron cell death in a stem cell model of spinal muscular atrophy. PLoS ONE, 7(6): e39113, 2012
  6. Sareen D, Svendsen CN: Stem cell biologists sure play a mean pinball. Nat. Biotechnol., 28(4): 333-5, 2010

Lab Information