Current projects are focused on understanding/stimulating regeneration, leveraging our recent breakthroughs. First, we have identified a novel regenerative stem cell source that we are coaxing to enhance organ repair for diseases such as Alagille Syndrome (publication) and diabetes. Second, we have identified a first-in-class small molecule, directly targeting a key pathway implicated in regulating somatic stem cells, that can enhance liver regeneration (video). We are now developing this patent-pending drug as a research tool and potential therapeutic for several other organs systems. Finally, we have developed an effective new vertebrate platform for investigating induced in vivo transdifferentiation as a strategy for generating replacement cells directly in the body, independent of transplantation and iPSC approaches, and discovered that differentiated muscle cells are still amenable to be converted into completely unrelated cell types of a different germ layer (preprint). Extending on this breakthrough, we recently identified two novel mechanisms which are required for in vivo transdifferentiation and can be leveraged to enhance this cell identity conversion process.
Our lab, located in coastal, sunny San Diego (a mecca of academia, biotech, and pharma), offers exciting projects, rigorous mentoring, a friendly work environment, and a competitive salary (starting ~$62K annual salary +benefits).
Please send inquiries to:
Duc Dong, PhD, Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Admissions
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute