Stem Cell Biology Research

The idea of isolating cells that are programmed to heal so they can be “taught” to heal specific tissues may seem futuristic, but it is the present-day focus of investigators at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, where groundbreaking work is being done by some of the world’s leading stem cell scientists.

 The fact that unassigned stem cells live within adults is a relatively recent and revolutionary discovery. Understanding these rare and difficult-to-observe cells is part of the mission of Children’s Stem Cell Research Center (SCRC), one of only a handful of labs in the world isolating and characterizing muscle-derived stem cells. To do so, researchers use advanced technology found in the Center’s Live Cell Imaging Lab to gain time-lapsed insight into intracellular and macromolecular changes.

Children’s discovery of certain muscle-derived stem cells offers promising approaches to development treatments for the devastating disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Another area of stem cell research explores ways to speed recovery from muscle injuries by blocking the formation of scar tissue, which typically slows the healing process. Regeneration of muscle, cartilage, nerves and other tissues are all areas of exploration.

The lab is supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Jesse’s Journey Foundation, The Hirtzel Foundation, and Cook Myosite. One of the unique aspects of the lab is its size in terms of personnel, which along with its strong base of funding, reflects the importance of the work being done.

The Stem Cell Research Center is part of Children’s Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery.


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Johnny Huard, PhD

Deputy Director
Bruno Peault, PhD

Our Researchers
Fabrisia Ambrosia, PhD, MPT
Bridget Deasy, PhD
Burhan Gharaibeh, PhD
Yong Li, MD, PhD
Jonathan Pollet, PhD
Bing Wang MD, PhD