CRISPR-based genetic engineering of stem cells for in vitro production of human blood


Project Description

Blood is the most commonly transplanted tissue in the clinic. The demand for blood transfusion has outstripped the donation-based supply worldwide. It is highly desirable to develop a technology to produce functional human blood cells in vitro. Such technology could greatly expand the general blood supply as well as provide novel therapeutics to patients. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) are an ideal starting population for in vitro production of blood because of their tremendous capacity to proliferate and to differentiate into all types of blood cells. We are seeking highly motivated students to apply CRISPR genome-editing technology to generate genetically modified hiPSC for efficient large-scale production of human blood. Candidates will have exposure to sophisticated technologies in stem cell biology such as FACS, hypoxia workstation, and bioreactor.​
Program - BioScience
Division - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Field of Study - ​molecular biology, cell biology, stem cell biology

About the

Mo Li

Assistant Professor, Bioscience

Mo Li
​Professor Li‘s research
attempts to understand the molecular basis of the regenerative mechanisms that
maintain the proper form and function of the human body. His research programs build
on a multidisciplinary platform that integrates stem cell models with genome
engineering, functional genomics, bioengineering and chemical screening to gain
a holistic understanding of regeneration in its broadest sense, while keeping a
commitment to fulfilling the translational promise of stem cell research.

Desired Project Deliverables

​The candidate will learn the techniques of hiPSC culture. He or she will design and test CRISPR/CAS9 nucleases for generating desired genetic modifications at predetermined gene loci. The candidate is expected to validate successful modifications using molecular biology techniques. A pilot in vitro blood differentiation experiment will be carried out to test the differentiation potential of modified hiPSC lines.