“Innovating Health” Webinar – Prof Song Li


“Innovating Health” Webinar – Prof Song Li

Engineering Stem Cells and Biomaterials for Neuromuscular Regeneration
10 am – 11:15 am, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 (Singapore)
6 pm – 7:15 pm, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 (Los Angeles)

Song Li
Department of Bioengineering and Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Traumatic nerve injury often results in muscle dysfunction, disability and mortality, and the development of effective therapy remains a challenge. To address this unmet medical need, we have taken a multidisciplinary approach, including stem cell delivery, drug delivery and wireless electrical stimulation, to accelerate axon growth, enhance reinnervation and promote muscle regeneration. A limiting step in functional recovery is the regeneration of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). We developed a synthetic neuromuscular tissue platform by engineering the co-culture of motor neurons and muscle stem cells on micro- and nano- patterned substrates as an in vitro model of NMJ formation. We found that the spheroids of neural crest stem cells (NCSCs), but not mesenchymal stem cells, significantly improved NMJ formation in this synthetic tissue model. Consistently, intramuscular transplantation in a rat model of peripheral nerve (PN) transection injury showed that NCSC spheroids significantly improved the survival of transplanted cells, the formation of NMJs and the functional recovery of muscle. To enhance muscle regeneration, we identified a chemical cocktail that selectively induced a robust expansion of myogenic stem cells from readily-obtainable dermal cells and from muscle stromal cells. Both stem cell transplantation and in situ activation of resident satellite cells by drug delivery enhanced muscle regeneration in adult and aged mice. Furthermore, we developed a wireless, bioresorbable and stretchable electrical stimulator and showed that repetitive electrical stimulation on the distal nerve stump promoted NMJ formation and functional recovery, demonstrating the potential of biophysical therapy. These findings and technologies can be translated into innovative therapies for neuromuscular regeneration, and may have broad applications for regenerative engineering.

Dr. Song Li had his Ph.D. and postdoctoral training with Dr. Shu Chien at UC San Diego. He was a professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley between 2001 and 2015. In 2016, Dr. Li joined the Bioengineering faculty at UC Los Angeles. He is currently a Chancellor Professor and as the Chair of the Bioengineering Department. Dr. Li’s research is focused on cell engineering, mechanobiology and regenerative engineering. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to develop therapeutics by engineering stem cells and micro/nanomaterials. His research also advances the understanding of how biophysical factors regulate cell reprogramming and tissue remodeling. Dr. Li has been elected as a Fellow of American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, a Fellow of Biomedical Engineering Society, and a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Register the webinar here: https://bit.ly/35Fu0L0

Download the poster here [pdf]