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  1. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and bears an immense economic burden. Late-stage heart failure often requires total heart transplantation; however, due to donor shortages and lifelong immunosuppression, alternative cardiac regenerative therapies are in high demand. Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, have emerged as a viable source of human cardiomyocytes for transplantation. Recent developments in several mammalian models of cardiac injury have provided strong evidence of the therapeutic potential of hPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CM), showing their ability to electromechanically integrate with host cardiac tissue and promote functional recovery. In this review, we will discuss recent developments in hPSC-CM differentiation and transplantation strategies for delivery to the heart. We will highlight the mechanisms through which hPSC-CMs contribute to heart repair, review major challenges in successful transplantation of hPSC-CMs, and present solutions that are being explored to address these limitations. We end with a discussion of the clinical use of hPSC-CMs, including hurdles to clinical translation, current clinical trials, and future perspectives on hPSC-CM transplantation. 
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    Biologically active ligands (e.g., RGDS from fibronectin) play critical roles in the development of chemically defined biomaterials. However, recent decades have shown only limited progress in discovering novel extracellular matrix–protein–derived ligands for translational applications. Through motif analysis of evolutionarily conserved RGD-containing regions in laminin (LM) and peptide-functionalized hydrogel microarray screening, we identified a peptide (a1) that showed superior supports for endothelial cell (EC) functions. Mechanistic studies attributed the results to the capacity of a1 engaging both LM- and Fn-binding integrins. RNA sequencing of ECs in a1-functionalized hydrogels showed ~60% similarities with Matrigel in “vasculature development” gene ontology terms. Vasculogenesis assays revealed the capacity of a1-formulated hydrogels to improve EC network formation. Injectable alginates functionalized with a1 and MMPQK (a vascular endothelial growth factor–mimetic peptide with a matrix metalloproteinase–degradable linker) increased blood perfusion and functional recovery over decellularized extracellular matrix and (RGDS + MMPQK)–functionalized hydrogels in an ischemic hindlimb model, illustrating the power of this approach. 
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  5. Abstract

    Biofilm formation is a major cause of hospital‐acquired infections. Research into biofilm‐resistant materials is therefore critical to reduce the frequency of these events. Polymer microarrays offer a high‐throughput approach to enable the efficient discovery of novel biofilm‐resistant polymers. Herein, bacterial attachment and surface chemistry are studied for a polymer microarray to improve the understanding ofPseudomonas aeruginosabiofilm formation on a diverse set of polymeric surfaces. The relationships between time‐of‐flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF‐SIMS) data and biofilm formation are analyzed using linear multivariate analysis (partial least squares [PLS] regression) and a nonlinear self‐organizing map (SOM). The SOM models revealed several combinations of fragment ions that are positively or negatively associated with bacterial biofilm formation, which are not identified by PLS. With these insights, a second PLS model is calculated, in which interactions between key fragments (identified by the SOM) are explicitly considered. Inclusion of these terms improved the PLS model performance and shows that, without such terms, certain key fragment ions correlated with bacterial attachment may not be identified. The chemical insights provided by the combination of PLS regression and SOM will be useful for the design of materials that support negligible pathogen attachment.

     
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  7. Abstract

    Cardiac fibroblasts (CFBs) support heart function by secreting extracellular matrix (ECM) and paracrine factors, respond to stress associated with injury and disease, and therefore are an increasingly important therapeutic target. We describe how developmental lineage of human pluripotent stem cell‐derived CFBs, epicardial (EpiC‐FB), and second heart field (SHF‐FB) impacts transcriptional and functional properties. Both EpiC‐FBs and SHF‐FBs exhibited CFB transcriptional programs and improved calcium handling in human pluripotent stem cell‐derived cardiac tissues. We identified differences including in composition of ECM synthesized, secretion of growth and differentiation factors, and myofibroblast activation potential, with EpiC‐FBs exhibiting higher stress‐induced activation potential akin to myofibroblasts and SHF‐FBs demonstrating higher calcification and mineralization potential. These phenotypic differences suggest that EpiC‐FBs have utility in modeling fibrotic diseases while SHF‐FBs are a promising source of cells for regenerative therapies. This work directly contrasts regional and developmental specificity of CFBs and informs CFB in vitro model selection.

     
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