Dr. Wang’s research program within the Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory focuses on developing innovative tools, technologies, and therapeutics that combine molecular, cellular, tissue, and biomaterial engineering to promote regeneration and restore function. Dr. Wang’s lab engineers and develops products and technologies using stem cells, extracellular vesicles, and extracellular matrices to treat surgical conditions and diseases. Current projects include:
(1) Studying stem cell biology, differentiation, and secretion
The Wang group is deriving stem cells from various sources currently investigating the mechanisms of action behind stem cell benefits, their differentiation capabilities, and secretion profiles in an effort to improve their application as regenerative therapeutics for various diseases.
2) Engineering stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles for tissue regeneration and targeted delivery
The Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory is working diligently to improve methods of obtaining high yields of stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EV), in an effort to accentuate their cell-free aspect and potentially develop EV therapy as an alternative cell-free regenerative therapy for various diseases.
(3) Developing instructive biomaterial scaffolds for stem cell culture, delivery, and recruitment
Dr. Wang has expanded the Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory to collaborate with leaders in the fields of stem cell biology and biomaterials. By combining these two rapidly emerging fields with others, such as extracellular vesicles and surgery, Dr. Wang is ultimately developing innovative multidisciplinary approaches for novel treatments.
(4) Establishing and using experimental and naturally-occurring disease models to evaluate stem cell and biomaterial products
Effective research largely depends on the development of successful animal models that can accurately portray the disease processes observed in humans. The SBL team has been successfully using well-established, surgically- and drug-induced small and large animal models to rigorously test treatment products. In addition, naturally-occurring models, which can more accurately exemplify disease processes are also being used. These models are extremely beneficial not only for humans but also for veterinary scientific advancement in treatment options. As such, the SBL team often collaborates with the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine team.
(5) Stem cell production in current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP), IND-enabling studies for FDA approval and stem cell clinical trials
In preparation for an upcoming stem cell clinical trial, the SBL team has developed a rigorous protocol for the production of stem cells under current GMP conditions. The cells are currently tested and manufactured in IND-enabling studies required for FDA approval of an allogeneic stem cell product. This work is based on 10 years of preclinical research.
(6) Academic innovation and entrepreneurship
Dr. Wang has established the Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory as a hub for innovation and education, by integrating varying disciplines for a robust collaborative environment and by mentoring physicians, residents, scholars, graduate, and medical students to foster future innovation. As the UC Davis School of Medicine Dean's Fellow in Entrepreneurship, Dr. Wang is examining the policy in place at our institution, regarding career advancement for research investigators involved in commercialization and industry, expanding our institution’s infrastructure in innovation and entrepreneurship to better link advances in academic research with product and technology development and commercialization, and promoting Davis' contribution to socio-economic development.