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Single-cell lineage maps of blood/immune cells in human organoids


School of Biomedical Sciences

Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Blood/immune cells sustain life through oxygen supply, resistance to infection, and gatekeeping cancer cells. We developed a powerful stem cell culture system that allowed us to recapitulate blood/immune cell development in human organoids. What are the lineage relationships of human blood/immune cells? The analysis of lineage relationships represents a research area of fundamental importance as a major framework for regenerative medicine and genetic disorders. In this highly collaborative project, we will focus on improving our understanding of lineage specification in the developing blood/immune system. The Ph.D. student will be involved in the generation and analysis of blood/immune cells in human organoids. They will use single-cell RNA-seq and novel single-cell barcoding technology and analyze cellular types and its lineage. Through collaboration with informaticians, we will create single-cell lineage maps of blood/immune cells in human organoids. Methods to be used: molecular biology methods, organoid formation, cell culture, stem cell differentiation, single-cell RNA-seq, and bioinformatics analysis. This highly collaborative project will additionally involve the laboratories of Prof. Pentao Liu (HKU) who is an expert in expanded potential stem cells and Prof. Bertie Gottgens (Cambridge) who has strong expertise in bioinformatics analysis of hematopoietic development.

Supervisor
Rio Sugimura, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Rio Sugimura received his M.D. from Osaka University, Japan, in 2008, and his Ph.D. in Stem Cells and Regeneration from Stowers Institute, USA, in 2012. He has been trained in the world-leading institutes, Harvard Medical School and Kyoto University. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Hong Kong. He is also an International Member of the American Society of Hematology. He is a Full Faculty Member of F1000.

Dr. Sugimura is an accomplished scientist, recognized for his outstanding contributions to the field of hematology and stem cell biology. He is interested in using the single-cell barcoding technology to delineate single-cell lineage maps of blood/immune cells in human organoids and exploring druggable targets of anti-cancer immunity. He has published more than 12 peer-reviewed in leading journals such as Nature, Cell, Genes & Development, etc. receiving a citation of 1,163 (Google Scholar).

Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=VlT93bYAAAAJ&hl=en
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5701-3628

Faculty information, funding opportunities and application deadlines: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/program/biomedical-research-hku-li-ka-shing-faculty-of-medicine/?i586p4119

References

1. Sugimura, R., Jha, D., Han, A., Soria-Valles, C., da Rocha, E., Lu, Y., Goettel, J., Serrao, E., Rowe, R., Malleshaiah, M., Wong, I., Sousa, P., Zhu, T., Ditadi, A., Keller, G., Engelman, A., Snapper, S., Doulatov, S., Daley, G. (2017) Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. Nature. 545, 432-438.

2. Venkatraman, A., He, X.C., Thorvaldsen, J., Sugimura, R., Perry, P., Tao, F., Zhao, M., Christenson, M., Sanchez, R., Yu, J., Peng, L., Haug, J., Paulson, A., Li, H., Zhong, X., Clemens, T., Bartlomei, M., Li, L. (2013). Maternal-imprinting at H19-Igf2 locus maintains adult hematopoietic stem cell quiescence. Nature. 500, 345-349.

3. Sugimura, R., He, X.C., Venkatraman, A., Arai, F., Box, A., Semerad, C., Haug, J., Peng, L., Zhong, X., Suda, T., Li, L. (2012). Noncanonical Wnt signaling maintains hematopoietic stem cells in the niche. Cell. 150, 351-365.

4. Perry, J.M., He, X.C., Sugimura, R., Grindley, J.C., Haug, J.S., Ding, S., and Li, L. (2011). Cooperation between both Wnt/{beta}-catenin and PTEN/PI3K/Akt signaling promotes primitive hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal and expansion. Genes & development. 25, 1928-1942.

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