Ren Xi, Ph.D.
Instructor in Surgery
Laboratory for Organ Engineering and Regeneration
Center for Regenerative Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital


Decellularized organ scaffolds are unique biomaterials derived from native organs by removing cellular components while leaving behind the extracellular matrix outlining the organs’ microanatomy. Bioengineered lungs produced by combining these scaffold materials and patient-derived cells may one day provide an alternative to donor lungs for transplantation therapy. We have developed systematic approaches to engineer functional pulmonary vasculature by repopulating the vascular compartment of decellularized rodent lungs with human cells, including endothelial and perivascular cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). We described improved methods for endothelial delivery into lung scaffolds, for assessing endothelial viability within regenerated lungs, and for maturing the newly formed endothelium through a two-phase angiogenic-to-stabilization culture strategy. These led to the establishment of viable vasculature with near complete endothelial coverage and physiologic apical-basal polarity. Furthermore, we have successfully scaled up these methods to engineer the vasculature of human lungs. To move pulmonary vascular engineering to the next level, our current research is focused on the following two aspects: (1) deriving lung-specific endothelium from hiPSCs by recapitulating the pulmonary endothelial and epithelial co-development in a dish, and (2) developing a chemoselective strategy to functionalize decellularized native biomaterials with pro-regenerative features to facilitate expedited vascular bioengineering.

Coffee and snacks are served at 4:00 P.M. in Scott Hall BME kitchen area, where students may meet the speaker.

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