Center for Regenerative Medicine and Boston
Cell-based treatments for human disease management hold great promise by overcoming the limited regenerative capacity of most human tissues. Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) have the potential to generate unlimited quantities of clinically relevant cell types through directed differentiation, a multistage process with recapitulation of developmental milestones. Tissue-specific primordial embryonic progenitors, including lung and thyroid progenitors of endodermal origin, are key developmental precursors as they give rise to all mature cell types within a specific lineage. This presentation will focus on the in vivo characterization of the genetic programs and signaling pathways that are involved in the determination of lung and thyroid progenitors from foregut endoderm. I will demonstrate how such in vivo knowledge is directly applicable to the development and improvement of efficient in vitro PSC directed differentiation protocols for lung and thyroid lineage derivation. The potential role of biomechanical cues in specification and patterning of PSC-derived lung progenitors will also be discussed.
Dr. Ikonomou is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Pulmonary Center of Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). He received his PhD in Biochemical Engineering from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and did his postdoctoral training in Stem Cell and Developmental Biology at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the BUSM Pulmonary Center.
His major research interest are in the areas of pluripotent stem cell biology, developmental biology and stem cell engineering, with emphasis on lung and thyroid. In addition to his research, Dr. Ikonomou is involved in education and information activities regarding unproven and unregulated “stem cell” interventions for respiratory diseases. Dr. Ikonomou is a member of the Center for Regenerative Medicine (CReM) of BU/BMC, an affiliate member of the BU Biomedical Engineering Department and graduate faculty of the Molecular and Translational Medicine and Genetics & Genomics programs.