Research

Research

Fetus with areas glowing red in face and torso
A rat-mouse chimeric fetus. The red fluorescent protein indicates cells from rat pluripotent stem cells. 

In Greek mythology, a chimera is a fearful fire-breathing beast composed of parts of more than one animal, vividly depicted in Homer’s lliad as a lion-headed creature with a goat body and a serpent’s tail.

In modern bioscience, chimeras are entities made up of cells from two different organisms and are excellent experimental models for studying development, organismal homeostasis, stem cell potential, and disease.

Recently, progress in pluripotent stem cells, zygote gene editing, and mammalian synthetic biology have opened new possibilities for interspecies chimera research.

The Wu lab uses interspecies chimeras to study fundamental biology: conserved and divergent developmental programs, determination of body and organ size, species barriers, and cancer resistance. We also work to develop new applications for regenerative medicine.