A photo of James Wells, PhD.

James M. Wells, PhD

  • Director for Research, Division of Endocrinology
  • Chief Scientific Office, Center for Stem Cell and Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM)
  • Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



The focus of his teams basic research has been to identify the molecular mechanisms involved in the embryonic development of endocrine cells including pancreatic beta cells and tissues of the gastrointestinal tract. Their translational projects have focused on identifying new approaches to improve child health in several ways: 1. To identify and use embryonic pathways to generate complex, three-dimensional organ tissues from pluripotent stem cells, 2. Use these tissues to develop new in vitro human models for diabetes and digestive disease research and 3. Develop long-term, therapeutic strategies for cell and tissue-replacement therapies.


Eicosatetraynoic Acid and Butyrate Regulate Human Intestinal Organoid Mitochondrial and Extracellular Matrix Pathways Implicated in Crohn's Disease Strictures. Jurickova, I; Bonkowski, E; Angerman, E; Novak, E; Huron, A; Akers, G; Iwasawa, K; Braun, T; Hadar, R; Hooker, M; et al. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2022; 28:988-1003.

Enteroendocrine cell differentiation and function in the intestine. Sanchez, JG; Enriquez, JR; Wells, JM. Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity. 2022; 29:169-176.

Functional human gastrointestinal organoids can be engineered from three primary germ layers derived separately from pluripotent stem cells. Eicher, AK; Kechele, DO; Sundaram, N; Berns, HM; Poling, HM; Haines, LE; Sanchez, JG; Kishimoto, K; Krishnamurthy, M; Han, L; et al. Cell Stem Cell. 2022; 29:36-51.e6.

Developmental basis of trachea-esophageal birth defects. Edwards, NA; Shacham-Silverberg, V; Weitz, L; Kingma, PS; Shen, Y; Wells, JM; Chung, WK; Zorn, AM. Developmental Biology. 2021; 477:85-97.

Case Report: Esophageal Bronchus in a Neonate, With Image, Histological, and Molecular Analysis. Trisno, SL; Higano, NS; Kechele, D; Nasr, T; Chung, W; Zorn, AM; Woods, JC; Wells, JM; Kingma, PS. Frontiers in Pediatrics. 2021; 9.

Application of Interacting Multiple Model for Future State Prediction of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems. Wells, JZ; Kumar, R; Kumar, M. (2021) 00:3755-3760.

Engineering-inspired approaches to study β-cell function and diabetes. Lewis, PL; Wells, JM. Stem Cells. 2021; 39:522-535.

Disruption of a hedgehog-foxf1-rspo2 signaling axis leads to tracheomalacia and a loss of sox9+ tracheal chondrocytes. Nasr, T; Holderbaum, AM; Chaturvedi, P; Agarwal, K; Kinney, JL; Daniels, K; Trisno, SL; Ustiyan, V; Shannon, JM; Wells, JM; et al. DMM Disease Models and Mechanisms. 2021.

Flight Control of Sliding Arm Quadcopter with Dynamic Structural Parameters. Kumar, R; Deshpande, AM; Wells, JZ; Kumar, M. (2021) 00:1358-1363.

Implementation of Multiple Model: Simulation and Experimentation for Future State Prediction on Different Classes of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems. Wells, JZ; Kumar, R; Kumar, M. (2021)