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Stem Cell Biology Group

Cellular Self-Renewal and Differentiation

Guang Hu, Ph.D.
Guang Hu, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Tel (919) 541-4755
Fax (919) 541-0146
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop D4-03
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
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Research Summary

The Stem Cell Biology Group seeks to understand the molecular basis of self-renewal and differentiation in embryonic stem (ES) cells.


ES cells are pluripotent cells derived from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst-stage embryo. They can be cultured continuously in their pluripotent state, and can also be induced to differentiate into cell types from all three germ layers. Because of these unique properties, ES cells are of great interest to both basic and clinical research. They can be used as a model system to study the mechanism of pluripotency and fate-specification during early mammalian development, and they can also be used to derive various types of cells for disease modeling, drug discovery, and the development of cell-based therapies.


Building a mechanistic model of self-renewal and differentiation will improve the group's knowledge in developmental biology and facilitate the development of stem cell therapies. It will also contribute to the Stem Cell Biology Group's understanding on how environmental factors can affect human embryogenesis and early development.


Embryonic Stem Cells

Figure 1. Embryonic Stem Cells

Major areas of research:

  • ES cell self-renewal and pluripotency
  • Lineage-specification during ES cell differentiation
  • Self-renewal and differentiation in adult stem cells
  • Mouse embryonic development


Current project:

  • Characterization of novel self-renewal genes identified in the siRNA screen
  • Characterization of novel self-renewal genes identified in the shRNA screens
  • Genetic screens to identify genes that are important for the differentiation of ES cells into the neural lineage
  • Genetic screens to identify genes that are important for adult stem cell self-renewal and differentiation


Guang Hu, Ph.D., leads the Stem Cell Biology Group within the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis. He earned his Ph.D. in 2003 at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. Hu was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation fellow from 2004 to 2007 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School under Stephen Elledge, Ph.D., before joining NIEHS in 2009. He has published 13 peer-reviewed articles in leading biomedical journals during his graduate and postdoctoral work.

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