Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell biology


Xuejun Wen, M.D., Ph.D.

Hansjørg Wyss Endowed Chair in Regenerative Medicine

Office: (843) 876-2395
Lab: (843) 876-2399 or 405-7086


Lab Homepage:


PhD Bioengineering University of Utah 2003
MD Medicine Henan Medical University 1994

Research Interests:

The overall goal of our research is to regenerate functional and safe human tissues by combining the principles of biomaterial science, biological science, stem cell biology, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine with state-of-the-art techniques in molecular and cell biology. There is a strong element of translational bioengineering research, which transfers the discovery and technology obtained in the lab into applications in clinically relevant scenarios.
Novel Biomaterials Development and Scaffold Fabrication: Several categories of novel biomaterials with physical, chemical, mechanical, and biological properties similar to those of the native tissue are synthesized and tested for scaffold fabrication. Highly elastic, biodegradable polymers or hydrogels with customized mechanical properties and degradation profiles are used for the repair of different types of tissues. Natural polymers are modified to enhance processibility, surface chemistry, cytophilicity, and mechanical properties, while biocompatibility is preserved. Nanostructured biomaterials (such as nano-ceramics, and nano-degradable drug carriers) or their surface modifications are developed for tissue engineering, biosensor/bioprobe, and drug delivery purposes. 3-D Scaffolds containing appropriate signals that support and direct tissue regeneration are fabricated using a variety of fabrication techniques.
Cell Biology and Engineering: The expansion, differentiation, trans-differentiation, and genetic manipulation of stem cells from different sources (umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, or human embryonic stem cells) are examined both in vitro under culture conditions and in vivo following transplantation. The in vitro studies focus on the effect of environmental factors on cell behavior and function based upon a series of bioreactors capable of generating dynamic physiological forces or applying specific environmental conditions (such as microgravity, and liquid-air interface as in the respiratory system) on cell-scaffold compound. The in vivo studies characterize the survival, proliferation, differentiation, migration, integration, and fate determination of transplanted cells or stem cells at different developmental stages under normal and pathological/injury conditions. The protein and gene expressions of the cells are examined using a comparative proteomics and genomics approach.
Tissue Engineering for Human Tissue Repair: Biomaterial scaffolds with organized macro- and micro-architectures and properties similar to those of native tissue are combined with engineered cells to constitute implantable tissue-engineered devices with temporally and spatially patterned guidance cues for human tissue repair. Our pilot studies have demonstrated the efficacy of tissue-engineered biomedical devices/constructs in promoting tissue repair or regeneration in the animal models of different types of tissue/organ injuries/diseases including neurological degeneration (such as spinal cord injury, Parkinson's diseases, and multiple sclerosis), heart infarction, bone loss (osteoporosis, and bone defect), functional protection and restoration of sensory organs (such as vision or hearing loss), and small-diameter blood vessel repair. Recently, we have established the essential techniques to grow elementary functional lung units in vitro for lung tissue engineering.
Drug Delivery: Based upon the novel biomaterials that are synthesized in the lab, we have developed five types of delivery vehicles that are capable of sustained, targeted, and localized delivery of therapeutic agents or cells to the tissue of interest. These include selective-permeable hollow fiber membrane, liposome, microsphere, nanogel/nanoparticle, and genetic engineered and combined systems.

Recent Publications:

  1. Wen X, Wang X, and Zhang N. Microrough surface of metallic biomaterials: A literature review. Biomed Mater Eng 6:173-189, 1996.
  2. Wen X, Zhang N, Li X, and Cao Z. Electrochemical and histomorphometric evaluation of the TiNiCu shape memory alloy. Biomed Mater Eng 7:1-11, 1997.
  3. Shi D, Qu D, Wen X, Tent BA, and Tomsic M. Direct peritectic growth of c-axis textured YBa2Cu3O. J Superconduct 11:575-580, 1998.
  4. Chen G, Wen X, and Zhang N. Corrosion resistance and ion dissolution of titanium with different surface microroughness. Biomed Mater Eng 8:61-74, 1998.
  5. Wen X, Qu D, Tent BA, Shi D, Tomsic M, and White M. Direct deposition of c-axis textured YBCO thick film on unoriented metallic substrate for the development of long superconducting tapes. IEEE Trans Appl Superconductivity 9:1506-1509, 1999.
  6. Shi D, Jiang G, and Wen X. In vitro bioactive behavior of hydroxylapatite-coated porous Al2O3; J. Biomed. Mater. Res.; Vol.53; 457-466, 2000
  7. Shi D, Wang S, Wang L, Wen X, Qu D, Wang L, and Wang S. Interface structure and texturing mechanism in YBCO thick films on silver alloy substrate. Physica C 353:258-264, 2001.
  8. Shi D, Jiang G, and Wen X, In vitro behavior of hydroxyapatite prepared by a thermal deposition method; Processing and Fabrication of Advanced Materials VIII, World Scientific, p117, 2001
  9. Wen X. A new era of regenerative medicine: Tissue engineering. Frontiers in Science, InterPress Publishers: Warsaw, 1:55-75, 2003.
  10. Massey B, Wen X, Rohr R, Tresco PA, Dahlstrom L, Park AH. Resorption rate and biocompatibility characteristics of two polyester ventilation tubes in a guinea pig model. Otolaryngol-Head Neck Surg J 131(6), 921-925, 2004.
  11. Wen X and An YH: A multiple-channel scaffold for guided bone tissue engineering. MUSC Orthop J, 7: 34-38, 2004
  12. Wen X, Shi D, and Zhang N; Applications of Nanotechnology in Tissue Engineering. Handbook of Nanostructured Biomaterials and Their Applications. American Scientific Publishers, Vol 2,393-414 2005
  13. Zhang N, Yan H, and Wen X; Tissue engineering strategies for axonal guidance; Brain Research Review; 49(1), 48-64, 2005
  14. Wen X, and Donglu Shi. Bioactive Ceramics: Structure, Synthesis, and Mechanical Properties, Introduction to Biomaterials. World Scientific Publishing, 13-28, 2006
  15. Wen X, and Donglu Shi. Bioceramic Processing, Introduction to Biomaterials. World Scientific Publishing, 29-46, 2006
  16. Wen X, and Zhang N. Tissue Engineering: A New Era of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology, Introduction to Biomaterials. World Scientific Publishing, 207-210, 2006
  17. Wen X, and Zhang N. Biomaterials for Tissue Engineering, Introduction to Biomaterials. World Scientific Publishing, 211-226, 2006
  18. Wen X, and Zhang N. Cells and Biomolecules for Tissue Engineering, Introduction to Biomaterials. World Scientific Publishing, 227-237, 2006
  19. Wen X, and Zhang N. Transport and Vascularization in Tissue Engineering, Introduction to Biomaterials. World Scientific Publishing, 238-242, 2006
  20. Wen X, and Zhang N. Host Response to Tissue Engineered Grafts, Introduction to Biomaterials. World Scientific Publishing, 243-248, 2006
  21. Wen X, and Zhang N. Other Important Issues and Future Challenges in Tissue Engineering, Introduction to Biomaterials. World Scientific Publishing, 249-253, 2006
  22. Zhang N, Zhang C, and Wen X; Fabrication of semi-permeable hollow fiber membranes with highly aligned texture for nerve guidance; Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A. 75(4):941-949, 2005
  23. Wen X. and Tresco P.A.; Effect of filament diameter and extracellular matrix molecule precoating on neurite outgrowth and schwann cell behavior on multifilament entubulation bridging device in vitro; Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A. 76(3):626-37, 2006
  24. Wen X and Tresco PA. Fabrication and Characterization of Permeable Degradable Poly(DL-Lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) Hollow Fiber Phase Inversion Membranes for Use as Nerve Tract Guidance Channels, Biomaterials; 2006 Jul;27(20):3800-9
  25. Mironov V, Kasyanov V, Yost M, Visconti R, Twal W, Trusk T, Wen X, Ozolanta I, Kadishs A, Prestwich GD, Terracio L, and Markwald R. Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering I. Perfusion Bioreactors: A review. Journal of Long-term Effects of Medical Implants, 16(2):111-130, 2006
  26. Zhang C, Zhang N., and Wen X, Improving the elasticity and cytophilicity of biodegradable polyurethane by changing chain extender. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part B. 79(2); 335-44, 2006.
  27. Shi D and Wen X. Biomaterials, testing structural properties of. Encyclopedia of Medical Devices and Instrumentation (2nd edition). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.: Hoboken, 354-365, 2006.
  28. An YH, Kang, QK, Wen X, Hartsock LA. Rabbit Tibial Osteomyelitis Models. MUSC Orthop Journal. 9:68-71, 2006
  29. Nichols HL, Zhang N, Wen X. Proteomics and Genomics of Microgravity. Physiological Genomics. 26(3); 163-171, 2006.
  30. Mironov V, Drake C, Wen X; Charleston Bioengineered Kidney Project, Biotechnol. J. 2006, 1, 903-905
  31. Nichols HL, Zhang N, and Wen X, Coating nano-thickness biodegradable films on nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite particles to improve the bonding strength between nanoHA and degradable polymer matrix; Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A: (In Press).
  32. Xu T, Zhang N, Nichols HL, Shi D, Wen X; Modification of Nanostructured Materials for Biomedical Applications.; Materials Science & Engineering C (In press. DOI: 10.1016/j.msec.2006.05.029)
  33. Zhang N. Nichols HL, Taylor S. and Wen X; Fabrication of nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite doped degradable composite hollow fiber for guided and biomimetic bone tissue engineering; Materials Science & Engineering C (In press. DOI:10.1016/j.msec.2006.05.024)
  34. Zhang C, Zhang N, Wen X, Synthesizing a degradable, light-curable, elastic hydrogel for cartilage tissue engineering. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A (In press)


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