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Feb 24, 2023

Seminar (2023-02-24)

School of Biomedical Sciences is pleased to invite you to join the following seminar:

Date: 24 February 2023 (Friday)
Time: 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 3, William M.W. Mong Block, 21 Sassoon Road

Speaker: Dr. Yan Fung Wong, Assistant professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Talk Title: Expansion prepares differentiation - understanding and exploiting endodermal cell model towards organ-specific differentiation 



Dr. Yan Fung Wong is an Assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen, The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine, reNEW. Dr Wong was born and grew up in Hong Kong. He pursued his Ph.D. at HKUST with Prof. King L. Chow, working on organ patterning in the nematode worm. Later on, he moved to RIKEN Japan for postdoctoral training with Prof. Shinichi Nishikawa, to work on epigenomics for human disease. He is now working with Prof. Joshua Brickman, focusing on the human endodermal organs patterning and understanding how the proliferation of progenitor cells is linked to future differentiation. He is particularly interested in exploring the molecular basis by which enhancer network becomes stabilised during proliferation, and how specific chromatin factors support expansion and enhancer priming.


Cell proliferation is fundamental for almost all stages of development and differentiation that require an increase in cell number. Here we exploit human embryonic stem cell-derived endodermal progenitors that we find are an in vitro model for the ventral foregut. These cells exhibit expansion-dependent increases in differentiation efficiency to pancreatic progenitors that are linked to organ-specific enhancer priming at the level of chromatin accessibility and the decommissioning of lineage-inappropriate enhancers. Our findings suggest that cell proliferation in embryonic development is about more than tissue expansion; it is required to ensure the equilibration of gene regulatory networks allowing cells to become primed for future differentiation. Expansion of lineage-specific intermediates may therefore be an important step in achieving high-fidelity in vitro differentiation.


Should you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact Miss Angela Wong at 3917 9216.