The Biliary Regenerative Medicine Laboratory of Robert C. Huebert, M.D., at Mayo Clinic focuses broadly on regenerative medicine strategies for the study and treatment of liver disease, with a focus on understanding and treating the cholangiopathies, a diverse group of diseases targeting the biliary tree. The laboratory's research program seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms that drive biliary development, regeneration and repair, including the signaling pathways and epigenetic events that drive these processes.
Dr. Huebert's laboratory has developed a novel method for the derivation of cholangiocytes, the specialized epithelial cells that line the intra-hepatic and extrahepatic bile ducts, from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The iPSCs are embryonic stem cell-like cells that can be created from a patient's own skin cells after a simple skin biopsy, reprogrammed to pluripotency, and then differentiated into patient-specific liver cells.
In collaboration with the Mayo Clinic Regenerative Medicine Biotrust and the Center for Cell Signaling in Gastroenterology, Dr. Huebert's program is populating the Liver Biobank, a biorepository of iPSCs from subjects with liver disease. This unique resource will allow for individualized disease modeling, pharmacological testing and cell-therapy applications for chronic liver disease.