A human genetics and stem cells research group was established to unravel the genetic causes of the monogenetic disorders that are prevalent in the local population. It also forms a platform for researchers to unravel the molecular processes that govern stem cell differentiation.
The group members aim to adopt innovative approaches to enrich our understanding of the genetic component of monogenetic disorders and strive to improve differentiation protocols for the differentiation of human mesenchymal and dental pulp stem cells into neural and adipocyte lineages.
The mission statement of the research group is to identify and study the genetic causes of monogenic disorders in the UAE population and to conduct research on the differentiation of mesenchymal and dental pulp stem cells into Adipocytes and neural lineages. The group aims to translate some of its research findings in therapeutic manners for the wellbeing of the patients.
The group has two major branches: human genetics and stem cells
For human genetics, we will identify the disease-causing gene(s) and mutation(s) underlying several autosomal recessive disorders (ARDs) in consanguineous families from UAE. Our specific objectives are:
- Ascertain and recruit novel cases underlying ARDs from UAE
- Perform genome-wide scan using SNP arrays to identify the disease-causing loci based on homozygosity mapping
- Perform whole-exome sequencing in some of the affected individuals of each family
- Select potential disease-causing mutations within the homozygous regions using bioinformatics tools
- Carry out functional assays to validate or rule out the pathogenicity of the identified variations
For stem cells research we have the following objectives:
- To set up the human dental pulp and mesenchymal stem cells platform for research by isolating, growing, characterizing, and cryopreserving the mesenchymal stem cells isolated from human teeth. The group is using Telomerase Transformed Immortalized Mesenchymal Stromal cells (iMSC3) as a model for mesenchymal stem cells
- To evaluate the neural differentiation capability of the different subsets of the human dental pulp and mesenchymal stem cells under specific growth factor combinations
- To find key microRNAs and key genes involved in the differentiation of human dental pulp and mesenchymal stem cells into neural lineage by performing the whole RNA sequencing by next-generation sequencing
- To enhance further the differentiation of the human dental pulp stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells into neural lineages by transfecting the stem cells with specific microRNAs that are differentially and uniquely expressed
- To derive a better and efficient 3-D model for the dental pulp and mesenchymal stem cells.
- To unravel the molecular mechanisms in the differentiation of dental pulp and mesenchymal stem cells into adipocytes, in vitro model of obesity.
Established in 2015.