Kang Ting

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Ángeles, California, United States

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Publications (140)490.25 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The differentiation factor NEL-like molecule-1 (NELL-1) has been reported as osteoinductive in multiple in vivo preclinical models. Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2 is used clinically for skeletal repair, but in vivo administration can induce abnormal, adipose-filled, poor-quality bone. We demonstrate that NELL-1 combined with BMP2 significantly optimizes osteogenesis in a rodent femoral segmental defect model by minimizing the formation of BMP2-induced adipose-filled cystlike bone. In vitro studies using the mouse bone marrow stromal cell line M2-10B4 and human primary bone marrow stromal cells have confirmed that NELL-1 enhances BMP2-induced osteogenesis and inhibits BMP2-induced adipogenesis. Importantly, the ability of NELL-1 to direct BMP2-treated cells toward osteogenesis and away from adipogenesis requires intact canonical Wnt signaling. Overall, these studies establish the feasibility of combining NELL-1 with BMP2 to improve clinical bone regeneration and provide mechanistic insight into canonical Wnt pathway activity during NELL-1 and BMP2 osteogenesis. The novel abilities of NELL-1 to stimulate Wnt signaling and to repress adipogenesis may highlight new treatment approaches for bone loss in osteoporosis.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · American Journal Of Pathology
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    ABSTRACT: Pluripotent or multipotent cell-based therapeutics are vital for skeletal reconstruction in non-healing critical-sized defects since the local endogenous progenitor cells are not often adequate to restore tissue continuity or function. However, currently available cell-based regenerative strategies are hindered by numerous obstacles including inadequate cell availability, painful and invasive cell-harvesting procedures, and tumorigenesis. Previously, we established a novel platform technology for inducing a quiescent stem cell-like stage using only a single extracellular proteoglycan, fibromodulin (FMOD), circumventing gene transduction. In this study, we further purified and significantly increased the reprogramming rate of the yield multipotent FMOD reprogrammed (FReP) cells. We also exposed the ‘molecular blueprint’ of FReP cell osteogenic differentiation by gene profiling. Radiographic analysis showed that implantation of FReP cells into a critical-sized SCID mouse calvarial defect, contributed to the robust osteogenic capability of FReP cells in a challenging clinically relevant traumatic scenario in vivo. The persistence, engraftment, and osteogenesis of transplanted FReP cells without tumorigenesis in vivo were confirmed by histological and immunohistochemical staining. Taken together, we have provided an extended potency, safety, and molecular profile of FReP cell-based bone regeneration. Therefore, FReP cells present a high potential for cellular and gene therapy products for bone regeneration.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Biomaterials
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    ABSTRACT: Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in the US. Consequently, there is a pressing need for restoring the structural and functional properties of diseased articular cartilage. Yet the search for the right combination of proper target cells and growth factors for cartilage regeneration remains challenging. In this study, we first tested the intrinsic chondrogenic differentiation ability of human perivascular stem cells (hPSCs), a novel source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) from human adipose tissue. A putative pro-chondrogenic growth factor, NEL-like molecule-1 (NELL-1), was added to the hPSC pellets to upregulate gene expression of chondrogenic markers including AGGRECAN, COLLAGEN II, and COMP. Furthermore, the addition of NELL-1 to a transforming growth factor beta 3 (TGF-β3) + Bone morphogenetic protein-6 (BMP-6) "cocktail" resulted in the best combinatorial stimulation in accelerating the chondrogenic differentiation of hPSCs, as evidenced by increased gene and protein expression of chondrogenic markers in a shortened induction time without elevating expression of hypertrophic, fibrotic, and osteogenic markers. Mechanistically, this acceleration rendered by NELL-1 may be partially attributed to NELL-1's upregulation of BMP receptors and TGF-β receptor type I in hPSCs for increased responsiveness to BMPs + TGF-βs. In conclusion, lipoaspirate-derived hPSCs present a novel and abundant cell source of MSCs for cartilage regeneration, and the combinatorial application of NELL-1, TGF-β3 and BMP-6 with hPSCs may remarkably enhance and accelerate cartilage repair.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Tissue Engineering Part A
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    ABSTRACT: NELL-1 is a novel osteochondral differentiation factor protein with increasing usage in tissue engineering. Previously, we reported the expression patterns of NELL-1 in bone-forming skeletal tumors. With increasing interest in the use of NELL-1 protein, we sought to examine the expression of NELL-1 in cartilage-forming tumors.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of the American College of Surgeons

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Perivascular epithelioid cell tumors (PEComas) are an uncommon family of soft tissue tumors with dual myoid-melanocytic differentiation. Although PEComa family tumors commonly demonstrate a perivascular growth pattern, pericyte antigen expression has not yet been examined among this unique tumor group. Previously, we demonstrated that a subset of perivascular soft tissue tumors exhibit a striking pericytic immunophenotype, with diffuse expression of αSMA, CD146, and PDGFRβ. Here, we describe the presence of pericyte antigens across a diverse group of PEComa family tumors (n = 19 specimens). Results showed that pericyte antigens differed extensively by histological appearance. Typical angiomyolipoma (AML) specimens showed variable expression of pericyte antigens among both perivascular and myoid-appearing cells. In contrast, AML specimens with a predominant spindled morphology showed diffuse expression of pericyte markers, including αSMA, CD146, and PDGFRβ. AML samples with predominant epithelioid morphology showed a marked reduction in or the absence of immunoreactivity for pericyte markers. Lymphangiomyoma samples showed more variable and partial pericyte marker expression. In summary, pericyte antigen expression is variable among PEComa family tumors and largely varies by tumor morphology. Pericytic marker expression in PEComa may represent a true pericytic cell of origin, or alternatively aberrant pericyte marker adoption. Markers of pericytic differentiation may be of future diagnostic utility for the evaluation of mesenchymal tumors, or identify actionable signaling pathways for future therapeutic intervention.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Medical Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder attributable to an imbalance in osteoblast and osteoclast activity. NELL-1, a secretory protein that promotes osteogenesis while suppressing osteoclastic activity, holds potential as an osteoporosis therapy. Recently, we demonstrated that PEGylation of NELL-1 significantly improves its thermostability while preserving its bioactivity in vitro. However, the effect of PEGylation on the pharmacokinetics and osteogenic potential of NELL-1 in vivo have yet to be investigated. The present study demonstrated that PEGylation of NELL-1 significantly increases the elimination half-life time of the protein from 5.5 h to 15.5 h while distributing more than 2-3 times the amount of protein to bone tissues (femur, tibia, vertebrae, calvaria) in vivo when compared to naked NELL-1. In addition, microCT and DXA analyses demonstrated that systemic NELL-PEG therapy administered every 4 or 7 days significantly increases not only femoral and lumbar BMD and percent bone volume, but also new bone formation throughout the overall skeleton after four weeks of treatment. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry revealed increased osteocalcin expression, while TRAP staining showed reduced osteoclast numbers in NELL-PEG groups. Our findings suggest that the PEGylation technique presents a viable and promising approach to further develop NELL-1 into an effective systemic therapeutic for the treatment of osteoporosis. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Biomaterials
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    ABSTRACT: Autologous bone grafts (ABGs) are considered as the gold standard for spinal fusion. However, osteoporotic patients are poor candidates for ABGs due to limited osteogenic stem cell numbers and function of the bone microenvironment. There is a need for stem cell-based spinal fusion of proven efficacy under either osteoporotic or non-osteoporotic conditions. The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy of human perivascular stem cells (hPSCs), a population of mesenchymal stem cells isolated from adipose tissue, in the presence and absence of NELL-1, an osteogenic protein, for spinal fusion in the osteoporosis. Osteogenic differentiation of hPSCs with and without NELL-1 was tested in vitro. The results indicated that NELL-1 significantly increased the osteogenic potential of hPSCs in both osteoporotic and non-osteoporotic donors. Next, spinal fusion was performed by implanting scaffolds with regular or high doses of hPSCs, with or without NELL-1 in ovariectomized rats (n=41). Regular doses of hPSCs or NELL-1 achieved the fusion rates of only 20-37.5% by manual palpation. These regular doses had previously been shown to be effective in non-osteoporotic rat spinal fusion. Remarkably, the high dose of hPSCs+NELL-1 significantly improved the fusion rates among osteoporotic rats up to ∼83.3%. Micro-computed tomography imaging and quantification further confirmed solid bony fusion with high dose hPSCs+NELL-1. Finally, histologically, direct in situ involvement of hPSCs in ossification was shown using undecalcified samples. To conclude, hPSCs combined with NELL-1 synergistically enhances spinal fusion in osteoporotic rats, and has great potential as a novel therapeutic strategy for osteoporotic patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2015 AlphaMed Press.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Stem Cells
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    ABSTRACT: NELL-1 is a secreted, osteoinductive protein whose expression rheostatically controls skeletal ossification. Overexpression of NELL-1 results in craniosynostosis in humans and mice, whereas lack of Nell-1 expression is associated with skeletal undermineralization. Here we show that Nell-1-haploinsufficient mice have normal skeletal development but undergo age-related osteoporosis, characterized by a reduction in osteoblast:osteoclast (OB:OC) ratio and increased bone fragility. Recombinant NELL-1 binds to integrin β1 and consequently induces Wnt/β-catenin signalling, associated with increased OB differentiation and inhibition of OC-directed bone resorption. Systemic delivery of NELL-1 to mice with gonadectomy-induced osteoporosis results in improved bone mineral density. When extended to a large animal model, local delivery of NELL-1 to osteoporotic sheep spine leads to significant increase in bone formation. Altogether, these findings suggest that NELL-1 deficiency plays a role in osteoporosis and demonstrate the potential utility of NELL-1 as a combination anabolic/antiosteoclastic therapeutic for bone loss.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Nature Communications
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    ABSTRACT: Perivascular soft tissue tumors are relatively uncommon neoplasms of unclear line of differentiation, although most are presumed to originate from pericytes or modified perivascular cells. Among these, glomus tumor, myopericytoma, and angioleiomyoma share a spectrum of histologic findings and a perivascular growth pattern. In contrast, solitary fibrous tumor (previously termed hemangiopericytoma) was once hypothesized to have pericytic differentiation. Here, we systematically examine pericyte immunohistochemical markers among glomus tumor (including malignant glomus tumor), myopericytoma, angioleiomyoma, and solitary fibrous tumor. Immunohistochemical staining and semiquantification was performed using well-defined pericyte antigens, including αSMA, CD146, and PDGFRβ. Glomus tumor and myopericytoma demonstrate diffuse staining for all pericyte markers, including immunohistochemical reactivity for αSMA, CD146, and PDGFRβ. Malignant glomus tumors all showed some degree of pericyte marker immunoreactivity, although it was significantly reduced. Angioleiomyoma shared a similar αSMA + CD146 + PDGFRβ+ immunophenotype; however, this was predominantly seen in the areas of perivascular tumor growth. Solitary fibrous tumors showed patchy PDGFRβ immunoreactivity only. In summary, pericyte marker expression is a ubiquitous finding in glomus tumor, myopericytoma, and angioleiomyoma. Malignant glomus tumor shows a comparative reduction in pericyte marker expression, which may represent partial loss of pericytic differentiation. Pericyte markers are essentially not seen in solitary fibrous tumor. The combination of αSMA, CD146, and PDGFRβ immunohistochemical stainings may be of utility for the evaluation of pericytic differentiation in soft tissue tumors. © The Author(s) 2015.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · International Journal of Surgical Pathology
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    ABSTRACT: The invited review covers different research areas of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), including the synthesis strategies of AgNPs, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of AgNPs, osteoconductive and osteoinductive activities of AgNP-based materials, and potential toxicity of AgNPs. The potential mechanisms of AgNP’s biological efficacy as well as its potential toxicity are discussed as well. In addition, the current development of AgNP applications, especially in the area of therapeutics, is also summarized.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Journal of Nanomaterials

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies showed that cyclophilin A (CypA) promotes NF-κB/p65 nuclear translocation resulting in enhanced NF-κB activity and altered expression of its target genes such as Sox9 transcriptional factor, which plays a critical role for chondrogenic differentiation and endochondral ossification. In this report we unveiled the role of CypA in signals-induced chondrogenic differentiation and endochondral ossification. Expression of the chondrogenic differentiation markers and transcriptional regulators, Sox9 and Runx2, were all significantly lower in CypA knockdown chondrogenic cells compared to wild-type cells, indicating that CypA holds a functional role in chondrogenic differentiation. In vitro differentiation studies using micromass cultures of mouse limb bud cells further supported the conclusion that CypA is needed for chondrogenic differentiation. Newborn CypA-deficient pups double-stained with Alcian blue and Alizarin red exhibited generalized, pronounced skeletal defects, while high-resolution microCT analyses of the femurs and lumbar vertebrae revealed delayed or incomplete endochondral ossification. Comparative histology and IHC analyses further verified the effects of a CypA deficiency on chondrogenic differentiation. Our results provide evidence for the important contribution of CypA as a pertinent component to act through NF-κB-Sox9 in regulation of chondrogenesis signaling. These findings are important to better understand signals-induced chondrogenesis of chondrogenic progenitors in physiological and pathophysiological contexts. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Molecular and Cellular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: NELL-1 (NEL-like Protein 1) is an osteoinductive protein with increasing usage as a bone graft substitute in preclinical animal models. NELL-1 was first identified to have bone-forming properties by its overexpression in fusing cranial sutures. Since this time, addition of recombinant NELL-1 has been used to successfully induce bone formation in the calvarial, axial and appendicular skeleton. With increasing interest in the use of NELL-1 as a bone-graft substitute, we sought to examine the expression of NELL-1 in a wide spectrum of benign and malignant bone-forming skeletal tumors. Immunohistochemical expression was examined in human pathologic specimens. Quantitative RT-PCR evaluated NELL-1 expression among OS cell lines in vitro. Results showed NELL-1 expression in all bone tumors. Likewise, all OS cell lines demonstrated increased NELL-1 expression in comparison to non-lesional human bone marrow stromal cells. Among, benign bone tumors (osteoid osteoma and osteoblastoma), strong and diffuse staining was observed, which spatially correlated with markers of osteogenic differentiation. In contrast, a relative reduction in NELL-1 staining was observed in osteosarcoma, accompanied by increased variation between tumors. Among osteosarcoma specimens, NELL-1 expression did not correlate well with markers of osteogenic differentiation. Surprisingly, among osteosarcoma subtypes, fibroblastic osteosarcoma demonstrated the highest expression of NELL-1. In summary, NELL-1 demonstrates diffuse and reliable expression in benign but not malignant bone-forming skeletal tumors. Future studies will further define the basic biologic, diagnostic and prognostic importance of NELL-1 in bone neoplasms. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
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    ABSTRACT: Fibromodulin (FMOD) plays a critical role in the wound-healing process. Our previous studies revealed that FMOD deficiency led to marked alterations in adult wound healing characterized by delayed dermal cell migration, postponed wound closure, and increased scar formation, all accompanied by impeded angiogenesis. Therefore, the aim of this study was to reveal the effect of FMOD on angiogenesis during the wound-healing process. In vivo angiogenic effects of FMOD were assessed by a chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane assay, a Matrigel (BD Bioscience, Franklin Lakes, N.J.) plug implant assay, and rodent primary closure wound models. In vitro angiogenic effects of FMOD were recorded by cell invasion and dimensional and topological parameters of human umbilical vein endothelial cells. We provided evidence that FMOD significantly enhanced vascularization: first, FMOD boosted blood vessel formation on the chorioallantoic membrane; second, FMOD markedly stimulated capillary infiltration into Matrigel plugs subcutaneously implanted in adult mice; and finally, FMOD robustly promoted angiogenesis in multiple adult rodent cutaneous wound models. Furthermore, FMOD administration restored the vascularity of fmod (-/-) mouse wounds. In support of this, FMOD endorsed an angiogenesis-favored microenvironment in adult rodent wounds not only by upregulating angiogenic genes but also by downregulating angiostatic genes. In addition, FMOD significantly enhanced human umbilical vein endothelial cell invasion and tube-like structure formation in vitro. Altogether, we demonstrated that in addition to reducing scar formation, FMOD also promotes angiogenesis. As blood vessels organize and regulate wound healing, its potent angiogenic properties will further expand the clinical application of FMOD for cutaneous healing of poorly vascularized wounds.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Neural epidermal growth factor-like (NEL)-like protein 1 (NELL-1) has been identified as an osteoinductive differentiation factor that promotes mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) osteogenic differentiation. In addition to full-length NELL-1, there are several NELL-1-related transcripts reported. We used rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) to recover potential cDNA of NELL-1 isoforms. A NELL-1 isoform with the N-terminal 240 amino acid (aa) residues truncated was identified. While full-length NELL-1 that contains 810 aa residues (NELL-1810) plays an important role in embryologic skeletal development, the N-terminal-truncated NELL-1 isoform (NELL-1570) was expressed post-natally. Similar to NELL-1810, NELL-1570 induced MSC osteogenic differentiation. In addition, NELL-1570 significantly stimulated MSC proliferation in multiple MSC-like populations such as murine C3H10T1/2 MSC cell line, mouse primary MSCs, and perivascular stem cells (PSCs), which is a type of stem cells proposed as the perivascular origin of MSCs. In contrast, NELL-1810 demonstrated only limited stimulation of MSC proliferation. Similar to NELL-1810, NELL-1570 was found to be secreted from host cells. Both NELL-1570 expression lentiviral vector and column-purified recombinant protein NELL-1570 demonstrated almost identical effects in MSC proliferation and osteogenic differentiation, suggesting that NELL-1570 may function as a pro-osteogenic growth factor. In vivo, NELL-1570 induced significant calvarial defect regeneration accompanied by increased cell proliferation. Thus, NELL-1570 has the potential to be used for cell-based or hormone-based therapy of bone regeneration. Stem Cells 2014
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Stem Cells

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of the American College of Surgeons
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    ABSTRACT: Adipose tissue is an attractive source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) because of its abundance and accessibility. We have previously defined a population of native MSCs termed perivascular stem cells (PSCs), purified from diverse human tissues, including adipose tissue. Human PSCs (hPSCs) are a bipartite cell population composed of pericytes (CD146+CD34-CD45-) and adventitial cells (CD146-CD34+CD45-), isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting and with properties identical to those of culture identified MSCs. Our previous studies showed that hPSCs exhibit improved bone formation compared with a sample-matched unpurified population (termed stromal vascular fraction); however, it is not known whether hPSCs would be efficacious in a spinal fusion model. To investigate, we evaluated the osteogenic potential of freshly sorted hPSCs without culture expansion and differentiation in a rat model of posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion. We compared increasing dosages of implanted hPSCs to assess for dose-dependent efficacy. All hPSC treatment groups induced successful spinal fusion, assessed by manual palpation and microcomputed tomography. Computerized biomechanical simulation (finite element analysis) further demonstrated bone fusion with hPSC treatment. Histological analyses showed robust endochondral ossification in hPSC-treated samples. Finally, we confirmed that implanted hPSCs indeed differentiated into osteoblasts and osteocytes; however, the majority of the new bone formation was of host origin. These results suggest that implanted hPSCs positively regulate bone formation via direct and paracrine mechanisms. In summary, hPSCs are a readily available MSC population that effectively forms bone without requirements for culture or predifferentiation. Thus, hPSC-based products show promise for future efforts in clinical bone regeneration and repair.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE
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    ABSTRACT: Osteoporosis is the most common metabolic disease of bone, resulting in significant worldwide morbidity. Currently, there are insufficient imaging modalities available to evaluate osteoporotic bones in small animal models. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of using high resolution X-ray imaging as a comparable measure of bone degeneration to dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in an osteoporosis rodent model. At week 0, animals underwent either an ovariectomy (OVX) or sham procedure (SHAM). DXA analysis was performed weekly to confirm and compare the bone degenerative changes induced by OVX. A comparison using high resolution X-ray imaging (Faxitron(®)) was then performed postmortem due to need of soft tissue removal. Two regions of interest (ROIs) were utilized: the distal third of the femur and the lumbar spine (L4/L5). It was observed that SHAM animals maintained a relatively constant bone mineral density (BMD), in comparison to OVX animals, whereby a significant decrease in BMD was appreciated. Post mortem X-ray scans were performed and converted to 8-bit color and quantified. A high level of agreement with DXA quantifications was observed with X-ray quantifications, and a significant correlation between the radiopacity, visualized by color distributions, and the DXA BMD values between animal groups was evident. Our study demonstrates the applicability of high resolution X-ray imaging both qualitatively and quantitatively as a reliable approach for quantifying osteoporosis in rodent osteoporotic models. With DXA being a highly user dependent modality, our technique is a unique secondary methodology to verify DXA findings and minimize inter-observer variability.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014

Publication Stats

3k Citations
490.25 Total Impact Points


  • 1999-2016
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • • Dental Research Institute
      • • School of Dentistry
      • • Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology
      Los Ángeles, California, United States
    • American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2014
    • Shandong University
      Chi-nan-shih, Shandong Sheng, China
  • 2010
    • Shanghai Jiao Tong University
      • Department of Orthopedics (Ninth People's Hospital)
      Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China
    • 307 Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army
      Peping, Beijing, China
  • 1995-2009
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Cell Biology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2003-2004
    • Stanford University
      • Department of Surgery
      Stanford, California, United States
  • 2001
    • Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
      Torrance, California, United States
  • 2000
    • Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
      Torrance, California, United States