We are interested in how cell polarity and asymmetric cell division contribute to cardiac progenitor differentiation and cardiac development. Currently, we focus on how cell polarity genes Numb and CDC42 function in epicardial cell epithelial-mesenchymal transition and differentiation to cardiac smooth muscle cells and fibroblast. Additionally, we are also interested in the functions of these genes in cardiac progenitor differentiation to different cardiac lineages in the mouse heart. Both epicardial cell specific and cardiac specific deletion of Numb and Numblike cause embryonic lethality and differentiation defect. The mechanism of how Numb is involved in cardiac progenitor differentiation is under investigation.
We are interested in Stem Cell self-renewal and differentiation. Specifically how cell polarity and asymmetric cell division function in embryonic stem cell specification to cardiac progenitor then differentiate to different cardiac lineages using genetic, developmental, molecular, biochemical and cellular tools. One of the tools we used a lot is the 4-dimentional Time-lapse image (Movie, 2010, Wu et al).
Stem cells are defined by their ability to self-renewal to propagate its population and also to differentiate to their destined cells to maintain tissue homeostasis. One of the key mechanisms for stem cell to fulfill its function is the division pattern: symmetric cell division and asymmetric division, which is usually determined by the niche (Figure, Wu, et al, Dev. Cell 2010). Symmetric cell division contributes to expand stem cell population, while asymmetric cell division contributes to differentiation. We are interested in how asymmetric cell division is controlled during stem cell differentiation in vivo.