Exploring the true nature of human pluripotent stem cells: differences and similarities in key gene expression and differentiation capacity

Project Details


Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC), exemplified by human embryonic stem cells (hESC), represent a valuable tool for the in-vitro study of early human developmental processes, including the toti- and pluripotent state of embryonic cells, and human disorders, and are often considered as a potential cell source in regenerative medicine. Our research group Reproduction and Genetics (REGE) has published widely on the characteristics of pluripotency, as present in embryos and hESC. Understanding the differences and similarities between hPSC from different sources will help to elucidate the mechanisms of pluripotency even further. The hESC lab of REGE has extensive experience with the derivation, culture, characterisation and in-vitro and in-vivo differentiation of hESC from the ICM of blastocyst stage embryos. These hESC will be used as 'golden standard' control for all comparisons. Other pluripotent stem cell lines that will be investigated are cleavage stage embryo-derived hESC, induced PSC (hiPSC), naïve hESC and spermatogonial stem cell-derived hPSC.
This research will have important implications, not only for the way we consider preimplantation embryos within the frame of in-vitro fertilisation, but also for the clinical translation of hPSC to regenerative medicine, as even minor differences in differentiation capacity or proneness towards malignancy will have a significant impact on a clinical outcome. This project builds on the expertise that has been acquired by REGE, is closely linked to ongoing research projects within the research group and can benefit from the presence of state-of-the-art equipment, including a next-generation sequencing system.

A) To obtain hPSC from different origins.
B) To explore the similarities and differences in gene expression of hPSC from various sources.
C) To correlate gene expression patterns to the differentiation capacity and proneness to malignancy of these cell lines.
Effective start/end date1/10/1130/09/12


  • reproductive genetics
  • andrology
  • clinical genetics
  • embryology
  • assisted reproductive technology

Flemish discipline codes

  • Basic sciences
  • Biological sciences