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Ding's Laboratory

Sheng Ding, Ph.D.
Principle Investigator

Sheng Ding is currently the Senior Investigator at Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, and professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at University of California, San Francisco. He obtained his B.S. in chemistry with honors from Caltech in 1999, and Ph.D. in chemistry from Scripps in 2003. He was the assistant and associate professor at the Scripps Research Institute from 2004 to 2011. Dr. Ding has pioneered on developing and applying innovative chemical approaches to stem cell biology and regeneration, with a focus on discovering and characterizing novel small molecules that can control various cell fate/function, including stem cell maintenance, activation, and differentiation and reprogramming in carious developmental stages and tissues. Dr. Ding has published over 90 research articles, review and book chapters, and obtained more than 20 patents.


We are interested in developing and applying innovative chemical approaches to stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, with a focus on discovering and characterizing novel small molecules that can target stem cell pathways to be the useful research tools and potential drug candidates. We have established the high-throughput-screening platform to screen large arrayed chemical libraries, and routinely used the medicinal chemistry strategies to improve these identified small molecule leads for better potency, selectivity and good in vitro and in vivo ADME properties. Moreover, the major efforts are devoted to characterize the molecular mechanism of those small molecules by affinity chromatography, transcriptome profiling, proteomics analysis, chemical/genetic epistasis and biochemical/functional assays. The selected high quality lead compound will be further tested in FDA/sFDA required pre-clinical studies for possible clinical use.

1. Chen, S., Zhang, Q., Wu, X., Schultz, P.G. and Ding, S*. Dedifferentiation of lineage-committed cells by a small molecule. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 126, 410-411, (2004).
2. Chen, S., Zhang, Q., Do, J-T., Yao, S., Yan, F., Peters, E.C., Schöler, H.R., Schultz, P.G. and Ding, S*. A small molecule that sustains self-renewal of embryonic stem cells, PNAS 103, 17266-17271, (2006).
3. Zhang, Q., Major, B., Takanashi, S., Camp, N.D., Nishiya, N., Ginsberg, M., Schultz, P.G., Moon, R.T. & Ding, S*. A Small Molecule Synergist of the Wnt Signaling Pathway, PNAS 104: 7444-7448, (2007).
4. Xu, Y., Shi, Y. & Ding, S*. A chemical approach to stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Nature 453, 338-44 (2008).
5. Shi, Y., Do, J-T, Desponts, C., Hahm, H-S, Schöler, H.R. & Ding, S*. A combined chemical and genetic approach for the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells. Cell Stem Cell 2, 525-528 (2008).
6. Li, W., Wei, W., Zhu, S., Zhu, J., Shi, Y., Lin, T., Hao, E., Hayek, A., Deng, H. and Ding, S*. Generation of Rat and Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells by Combining Genetic Reprogramming and Chemical Inhibitors. Cell Stem Cell 4, 16-19, (2009).
7. Zhou, H. Wu, S., Joo, J.Y., Zhu, S., Han, D.W., Lin, T., Trauger, S., Bien, G., Yao, S., Zhu, Y., Siuzdak, G., Schöler, H.R., Duan, L. & Ding, S*. Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Using Recombinant Proteins. Cell Stem Cell, 4, 381-384, (2009).
8. Xu, Y., Zhu, X., Hahm, H.S., Hao, E., Li, W., Hayek, A. & Ding, S*. Revealing a core signaling regulatory mechanism for pluripotent stem cell survival and self-renewal by small molecules. PNAS, 107 (18) 8129-8134, (2010).
9. Zhu, S., Li, W., Zhou, H., Wei, W., Ambasudhan, R., Lin, T., Kim, J., Zhang, K. and Ding, S*. Reprogramming of Human Primary Somatic Cells by OCT4 and Chemical Compounds. Cell Stem Cell 7, 651-655, (2010).
10. Efe, J.A., Hilcove, S., Kim, J., Zhou, H., Ouyang, K., Wang, G., Chen, J., Ding, S*. Conversion of mouse fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes using a direct reprogramming strategy. Nature Cell Biology 13, 215–222, (2011).

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