University of Southern California

Ying Lab

USC Stem Cell

Lab Overview

Our lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying embryonic stem (ES) cell self-renewal and differentiation. ES cells are remarkable cell lines, derived from the inner cell mass of pre-implantation embryos, that can grow indefinitely in culture. When an ES cell divides, it can either produce identical copies of itself (self-renewal) or other more specialized cell types (differentiation), such as neurons. Understanding how an ES cell makes this choice between self-renewal and differentiation is the central challenge in stem cell research.

Smooth muscle cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (Image courtesy of the Ying Lab)
Liver stem cells derived from rat embryonic liver (Image courtesy of the Ying Lab)
Neural stem cells derived from mouse brain (Image courtesy of the Ying Lab)