Our mission is to understand how cells and tissues are formed and to use the information to repair and develop new tissues for biomedical purposes. In the near term, new cells and tissues will provide experimental cell systems to reveal the basis for human disease and to help develop pharmacologic therapies. In the long term, new cells and tissues will be used for therapeutics and transplants. These efforts are conducted in the light of ethical considerations and involve public education about the means and potential of regenerative medicine.
IRM research includes the basis for the formation for new types of cells that occur in embryonic development as well as during the natural regenerative responses to tissue damage. We identify signaling factors in the cellular environment that guide the differentiation of stem and progenitor cells and promote the regenerative response. A major emphasis of the IRM is to understand the control of cell identity and self-renewal to guide stem and progenitor cell differentiation at will.
The factors that elicit the normal programming of differentiated cells are known to be evolutionarily conserved; thus, IRM research spans diverse model organisms and experimental systems. IRM also supports tissue engineering as a means to deliver new cells for therapies.
Together, these approaches provide a comprehensive approach to apply fundamental research at UPenn to regenerate cells and tissues for human therapies.