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Enhancing the reproducibility of cell type composition in human kidney organoids

Primary Investigators:
Lauren E. Woodard, Ph.D.
 
Brief Description of Project:
Decades of research contributed to the development of complex kidney tissues from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) which widened our ability to study human kidney development and disease. But the system raises issues of reproducibility and variability due to the specific handling techniques of individual researchers.  The objective of this project is to produce a persistent culture niche that will generate the kidney organoids efficiently hPSCs. For this, we will be comparing different ECM materials and evaluating impact of matrix shape, cell density for the possibility of achieving constancy and repeatability.

Desired Qualifications:
Our lab personnel will provide the necessary training required for this project. Interest in stem cells, advanced tissue culture, and biomaterials is desired.
 
Nature of Supervision:
The student will be mentored directly by postdoctoral fellow (BME PhD) Dr. Julie Bejoy in a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary laboratory located in the Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology.
 
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Proteoglycans, GAGs, collagens and many other ECM glycoproteins have been determined to be involved in kidney development. On the other side, the increased density of the cells within the organoids introduce diffusivity issues and low differentiation efficiency. So, the research plan will be to evaluate the impact of ECM materials, shape and the embedded cell density on the efficient derivation of kidney organoids from induced pluripotent stem cells.
 
Number of Open Slots: 1
 
Contact Information:
Name: Lauren E. Woodard
Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology; Department of Biomedical Engineering
Email: lauren.woodard@vumc.org