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Student research project

Supervisor(s): Associate Professor Judy de Haan, Dr Huseyin Sumer, Professor Rebecca Ritchie and Professor Peter Kingshott

Project summary

Pluripotency describes the ability of a cell to differentiate into any cell type of body. This property is usually restricted to cells of the inner cell mass of a pre-implantation blastocyst embryos and their in vitro counterparts, embryonic stem (ES) cells. While somatic cells have a restricted ability to differentiate during normal development, under certain experimental conditions they can be induced to revert to a pluripotent state. The process of inducing pluripotency in somatic cells, thus adopting genetic and morphological characteristics of embryonic stem cells, is referred to as cell ‘reprogramming’. This can be by inducing pluripotency, mediated by defined factors, giving rise to what are termed induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The ability to generate iPS cells from patient derived somatic cells has opened the possibility for personalised regenerative medicine.

In this study, somatic cells will be isolated from mice with specific mutations (GPx1 knockout (KO), Nrf2 KO) and iPS cells generated by retroviral gene delivery. The resulting iPS cells will be then differentiated into endothelial cells and tested for their ability to re-endotheliarise denuded vessels in culture. This technology will pave the way for the establishment of patient-specific iPSC-derived endothelial cells for coatings for pre-implantation stents.

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