Department: Cell and Developmental Biology
Faculty: Medicine-Sackler Faculty

Prof. Benayahu Dafna

How to Nano-Manipulate Stem cells Differentiation

Nanomedicine is medical treatment at the level of single molecules or molecular assemblies that provide structure, control, signaling, homeostasis, and motility in cells, i.e., at the “nano” scale of about 100 mm or less. There have been many scientific and technological advances in both physical and biological sciences over the past several years that make nano medicine research particularly attractive at this time. New tools are being developed that permit imaging of structure at this scale, high-speed measurement of the dynamic behavior of these molecular assemblies, and the forces produced by molecular machines as well as the forces needed to disrupt them. These advances are complemented, on the biological side, by the dramatically expanded knowledge of the human genome, a greater understanding of the pathophysiology of specific diseases at the molecular scale, the need to develop more specific treatments of disease, and the desire to understand the dynamic behavior of dysfunctional cellular machinery in the context of the total cell machinery. The need for more precise measurements of the behavior of the nanomachinery within cells combined with the expanding array of tools capable of making these measurements led to the identification of Nanomedicine theme of “New Pathways to Discovery”.

Stem cell has a broad use in cell therapy and tissue engineering. Mesenchymal stem cells derived from the bone marrow are able to differentiate to various lineages: osteogenic, chondrogenic and muscle cells or behaves more plastic and differentiates to other tissues. Before stem cells can be used for cell therapy, the definition of their identity and culturing conditions needs to be explored. The research conducted at the laboratory is to answer the question of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) identity.We are using animal models of to retrieve mesechymal tissues and to culture MSCs to analyze their gene profiling. Micro array used to explore the gene expression and analysis of growth factor, hormone, and genes of signaling pathway involved in cell activation and differentiation according to tissue source and profiling. This knowledge will enable to develop molecular and biochemical platform that enables the isolation and manipulation of the stem and progenitor cells to differentiation. The regulatory circuit will be applied and will enable the knowledge to set up the conditions for cells expansion and maintaining their phenotype and control the stem cells differentiation to utilize the cells as biomedical devices.This approach will lead to explore the encoded information relevant to cells differentiation in specific contacts that will enable to produce well-defined populations of programmed cells. It will lead to numerous applications in the fields of molecular medicine and cellular Nano-biotechnology that can apply to a new approach to bio engineering.