Department: Physiology and Pharmacology, Western University
The focus of Dr. Hess’s research is to understand the mechanisms by which distinct stem cell subsets co-ordinate hematopoiesis, angiogenesis, and tissue repair. Ultimately, Dr. Hess is interested in the development of cellular therapies to mediate the repair of diseased, damaged, or ischemic tissues. Specific applications for his work include the use of transplanted human stem cells to promote blood vessel formation, and to regenerate insulin-producing beta cells during diabetes. In an attempt to isolate and study the regenerative functions of human bone marrow-derived stem cells, his lab has purified multiple stem cell lineages simultaneously using high-speed fluorescence activated cell sorting based on conserved functional and stem cell surface markers. The regenerative functions of these novel cells are studied by the transplantation in immune deficient mouse models specifically designed to quantify (1) blood vessel formation during critical leg ischemia, and (2) the regeneration of beta cell function in hyperglycemic recipients.