Organ-specific adult stem cells and stem cell derivatives

Our lab is specialized in isolating therapeutic cells from donor organs (e.g. heart, lung) and then testing their regenerative potential in experimental rodent models created in the lab or spontaneous animal disease models available at the Veterinary Hospital. We are also interested in determining the key factors and microRNAs secreted by stem cells and injecting these non-living agents to reproduce the therapeutic benefits of cell transplantation. Our ultimate goal is to translate the stem cell therapies developed in the lab into IND-enabled human clinical trials. For example, we are currently planning a lung stem cell therapy for patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (or IPF).

Targeted nanomaterials for heart regeneration

Nanomaterials have been widely used in cancer therapies (targeted killing). Our lab is interested in developing novel nanomaterials for regenerative medicine (targeted repairing). These smart materials can deliver therapeutic payload (e.g stem cells, proteins, and nucleic acids) to the injury zone.

Biomaterials for cardiac tissue engineering


We are working on the development of cardiac patches for heart regeneration. These patches combine biodegradable scaffolding materials, stem cells, and beneficial factors, and can be delivered by thoracic surgeries or mini-invasive procedures.

New mechanisms of cell extravasation

Using advanced microscopic techniques, the Cheng Lab is uncovering previously unknown mechanisms of cell extravasation, namely “angiopellosis”,¬†with great impact on stem cell transplantation and cancer metastasis.