At CuSTOM we have assembled a highly collaborative multi-disciplinary team of developmental biologists, stem cell experts, geneticists, clinicians, surgeons and entrepreneurs with complementary expertise to accelerate discovery and translation.
The Alenghat Lab investigates epithelial and immune cell homeostasis in the context of intestinal health and disease.
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
The goal of the Asai lab is to develop new treatment for pediatric liver disease. Using liver organoids from patient-derived pluripotent stem cells the Asai team is investigating the pathophysiology of disrupted bile acid metabolism and identifying new therapeutic targets of pediatric cholestatic liver disorders.
University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science, Department of Biomedical Engineering
The Barrile Lab focus is on combining patient-derived stem cells and reverse engineering approaches to establish an highly translational platform designed to capture the complex and dynamic nature of brain-ischemic stroke and metastatic lung-cancer. The lab aims to explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern organ-functions during the homeostasis and disease state, and how these processes can be therapeutically targeted in order to create personalized therapies.
Director, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
The Bezerra lab investigates the genetic, cellular and molecular basis of biliary atresia and other cholangiopathies in children. His studies use animal models and human liver bud organoids to identify causes of tissue injury and to develop new therapies for pediatric liver disease.
Division of Developmental Biology
The Brugmann Lab studies craniofacial development and disease. We are particularly interested in combining stem cell based technologies together with biologically inspired principles to engineer human craniofacial tissues suitable for use in the surgical repair of craniofacial anomalies.
Division of Developmental Biology
The Campbell Lab works to uncover the molecular genetic mechanisms that control the normal formation of basal ganglia circuits.
Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology
Dr. Jose Cancelas collaborates closely with Dr. Carolyn Lutzko in disease modeling and ex vivo generation of blood cells from pluripotent stem cells. View recent examples of this work.
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition
The long-term goal of Dr. Denson’s research program is to define genomic and microbial mechanisms driving disease complications in Crohn’s Disease (CD). To this end the lab has developed a novel human intestinal organoid (HIO) model system to test genetic mechanisms and microbial metabolites regulating tissue collagen production. These studies will advance precision medicine, by developing a platform to screen small molecules in patient-derived organoids stratified by clinically important genotypes, and ultimately prevent fibrotic end-organ injury.
University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science, Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering
The Esfandiari Lab uses integrated bioengineering and stem cell technologies to design and fabricate nano-scale biosensors and actuators to monitor the biophysical and biochemical microenvironment of living organoids. These tools accelerate the next generation of organoid based-therapeutic screens and enable personalize medicine.
The Gebelein Lab areas include developmental biology, gene expression regulation, neural cell-fate specification, mechanisms patterning the early embryo and the mechanisms underlying Notch signaling, with a specific emphasis on modeling the disease alleles of Adams-Oliver syndrome.
Divisions of Pulmonary Biology, Molecular Cardiovascular Biology, and Developmental Biology
The overarching goal of the Gu Lab is to develop novel therapy for the regeneration of heart, lung, and vasculature in patients with congenital cardiac and pulmonary defects. Towards this goal, the Gu Lab conducts translational and interdisciplinary research using patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), vessel and lung organoids, animal models, and single cell RNA/ATAC sequencing for disease modeling and high-throughput drug screening.
The goal of Guo Lab research is to apply cutting-edge stem cell technologies (e.g. iPSCs, organoid and transdifferentiation) to study the etiology of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders in a human genetic context. And new insights from these investigations may eventually help identifying novel targets for therapeutic development.
Director of CuSTOM Clinical Translation, Division of General and Thoracic Surgery
The Helmrath Lab interfaces with the clinical care of patients with intestinal diseases. As a translational research lab, the Helmrath team continues to develop in vitro and in vivo organoid models to study the development and function of human intestine.
Department of Pharmacology and System Physiology, University of Cincinnati
The Hong lab investigates molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms and their functions in other cellular processes such as cell cycle and metabolism. Currently, we focus on identifying molecular components that connect the circadian clock and cell cycle, and the consequences of this coupling in intestinal stem cell regeneration and proliferation using mouse and human organoids.
Yueh-Chiang Hu, PhD, leads a highly productive, research-oriented Transgenic Animal and Genome Editing (TAGE) core that utilizes state-of-the-art genome editing and transgenic technologies to generate and preserve animal and cell models for investigators at Cincinnati Children's and across the nation. He is also studying the mechanism by which the gonads drive germ cell differentiation at the critical time of the development using genetic and genomic tools, including inducible CRISPRi and CRISPRa mice generated by his lab.
Basic Research Director, Cincinnati Center for Growth Disorders
The human liver is a key responder to many endocrine hormonal cues critically important for normal developmental growth and metabolic homeostasis. The Hwa Lab, Cincinnati Center for Growth Disorders, is interested in modeling endocrine growth disorders utilizing patient-based iPSC-derived liver organoids for investigation and personalized therapy testing.
Division of Developmental Biology
The goal of Iwafuchi lab is to reveal chromatin regulatory principles underlying dramatic cell fate changing events that occur in development, tissue repair, and diseases, and ultimately to utilize this knowledge to precisely engineer cell fates. We focus on how different families of pioneer transcription factors regulate chromatin structure, taking advantage of genetically modified human stem cells and organoid systems.
Division of Pulmonary Biology
The Kalinichenko Lab investigates cell signaling pathways and transcriptional mechanisms critical for the development of pulmonary vasculature and endothelial repair after lung injury. We use animal models, lung organoids and iPSC-derived endothelial progenitor cells to identify causes of vascular insufficiency and to develop new therapies for pediatric and adult pulmonary diseases.
CuSTOM Director of Research and Development, Division of General and Thoracic Surgery
The mission of CuSTOM Accelerator is to create innovative organoids-based platforms enabling discovery and development of safer, more efficacious and precise drug treatments and transformative organoids-based therapies to advance human health and medical practices. At CuSTOM Accelerator we leverage our world-class preclinical and clinical expertise, experience in bioproduct development alongside with leading industry partners to deliver on the promise of organoid medicine.
The Kopan lab uses animal models and human kidney organoids to investigate the role of Notch signaling in nephron development and aging. The lab is currently developing novel CRISPR/Cas9 gene edited iPSCs that will enable the team to inducibly modulate gene expression during organoid development, dissect gene regulatory circuits, or mimic disease states.
Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology - Translational Labs
Dr. Lutzko is the Director of the Cell Manipulations Laboratory at Cincinnati Children’s and collaborates closely with Dr. Jose Cancelas Perez in disease modeling and ex vivo generation of blood cells from pluripotent stem cells. Her research interests include regulating human pluripotent stem cells, somatic cell reprogramming in iPSC, human embryonic stem cell physiology and differentiation, hESC, and cystic fibrosis.
Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology
The Perl lab investigates the mechanisms of pulmonary development and disease using lung organoids and animal models. Current studies focus on the epithelial-mesenchymal interactions that promote alveolar maturation, the role of lung pulmonary fibroblast and using organoids derived from patient’s epithelial cells to model mechanisms of fibrotic lung disease.
Division of Biomedical Informatics
The Salomonis lab is committed to understanding the genetic programs that control pluripotency and differentiation at the single cell level. We develop integrative genomic and bioinformatics tools to study programmed and stochastic decisions that mediate cell state progression.
CuSTOM Director of Commercial Innovation, Divisions of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition & Developmental Biology
The Takebe lab pioneered the development of self organizing human liver bud organoids, which they use as a novel platform to study liver disease, screen for drugs and develop new therapies to intractable liver.
Division of Developmental Biology
The Tchieu lab investigates the role of glial cells in development and disease using the directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells as a model. The goal of this research is to identify mechanisms involved in glial competency, uncover the diversity of glia in humans and the role of glial cells in neurodevelopmental disease.
Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry & Microbiology, University of Cincinnati
The Weiss lab is focused on understanding human intestinal pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7, the “hamburger E. coli”. Currently there is no treatment for this potentially fatal pediatric disease. Mice are not susceptible to O157:H7, and the use of stem-cell derived human intestinal organoids affords an unprecedented approach to study potential therapeutic interventions.
CuSTOM Chief Scientific Officer, Divisions of Developmental Biology and Endocrinology
The research in the Wells lab aims to uncover the processes by which gastrointestinal and endocrine organs form in the developing embryo and to use this information to generate human tissue organoids from pluripotent stem cells. Gastrointestinal organoids are being used to study congenital defects of the digestive tract, endocrine control of metabolism, and for engineering functional tissues for transplantation.
Division of Oncology
The Susanne Wells laboratory studies the biology of human epidermis and mucosa. Keratinocytes within these compartments are tightly connected to form the organismal first line of defense against a hostile environment. These same cells are also most exposed to exogenous stressors including chemical carcinogens, radiation, or oncogenic viruses which promote transformation to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). We seek to understand inherited and environmental factors which produce SCC susceptibility in children and adults, with the goal of developing innovative cancer prevention and treatment approaches. Patient-derived models include the directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into 3D epidermal and esophageal organoids for phenotype discovery in cancer susceptibility disorders.
Co-Director, Perinatal Institute
Chief, Section of Neonatology, Perinatal and Pulmonary Biology
The overarching goal of the Whitsett lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms governing lung development, homeostasis and disease in order to improve treatment of lung disease. Current translational projects include gene editing of patient derived iPSCs to correct the mutations that cause child hood interstitial lung disease and “LungMap” a comprehensive single cell atlas of the fetal lung.
Division of Pulmonary Biology
CuSTOM Director, Division of Developmental Biology
The Zorn lab investigates the cell signaling programs that control embryonic development of the digestive and respiratory system using a combination of animal models, human pluripotent stem cell-derived organoids and cutting edge genomics. Current studies focus on elucidating the origins of trachea-esophageal birth defects.
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