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BIH Lecture

"Cell Identity Conversion: Liver Regeneration and Cell Therapy"

The dogma for cell replenishment in injured mammalian tissues is that functional cells come from the differentiation of pre-existing adult stem/progenitor cells. However, it has been long debated whether adult stem/progenitor cells exist in some solid organs, including the liver. Several findings, including ours, showed that terminally differentiated cells could contribute to liver regeneration via converting their identities into other cell types, i.e., dedifferentiation and transdifferentiation (Cell Stem Cell 2018). We previously revealed that chromatin in liver progenitor-related genes unexpectedly maintains a transcriptionally permissive state in differentiated hepatocytes (Cell Stem Cell 2019). Such a permissive state in progenitor-related genes provides a novel framework to understand why a differentiated hepatocyte could be quickly converted into the liver progenitor-like state, which we termed “reprogramming competence”. Recently, we also found that hepatocyte dedifferentiation is surprisingly triggered by resident macrophage-derived inflammatory cytokine IL-6, which initiates the transcription of progenitor genes that are highly expressed in fetal livers, but exploits a completely different transcription mechanism from that in embryogenesis (Cell Stem Cell in press).

About the Speaker

Professor Hui studies molecular pathology of liver diseases, with the focus on cell identity conversion, i.e., dedifferentiation and transdifferentiation, in liver regeneration and tumorigenesis. His team demonstrated the conversion from fibroblasts into hepatocytes in vitro, thereby providing one of the first evidence of transdifferentiation in mammalian cells. His team is also among the first to report cell identity conversion in liver injury and repair. Based on these fundamental findings, his team generates functional hepatocytes, hiHep and ProliHH, for clinical application. Innovative therapies based on these cells, namely bioartificial liver devices and encapsulated liver organoids, are now being tested in clinics. Professor Hui is also the founder of Hexaell Biotech, which aims to helping patients with edge-cutting cell therapy technologies.


March 31, 2023
12:00 - 1:00 pm 

BIH Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT)
Cranach Haus | Auditorium | EG Room 0.0044/45
Föhrer Str. 15
13353 Berlin

or online via zoom.

Register here.