Med-X-Renji Clinical Stem Cell Research Center

March 08, 2021

The Clinical Stem Cell Research Center was established in 2010 and was co-founded by Ren Ji Hospital and Med-X Research Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The research center is located on the 15th floor in Building 17 of the East Campus of Ren Ji Hospital, with an experimental space of 2,000 square meters. By the end of 2020, there were 8 research groups and 30 staff (including 16 associate/full professors, 16 graduate student mentors (7 doctoral supervisors and 16 master supervisor), and 40 graduate students (22 doctoral students and 18 master students).  Enrollment majors: oncology, basic medicine science.

The main research areas of the Ren Ji Clinical Stem Cell Research Center are stem cell and tissue repair; tumor stem cells and tumor development. The 8 research groups include the "Stem Cell and Tissue Repair and Tumor Research Laboratory" led by Professor Wei-Qiang Gao (current director of the Center), the "Tumor Metastasis and Cancer Stem Cell Research Laboratory" led by Haizhong Feng, and the "Tissue Stem Cell and Cancer Stem Cell Laboratory" led by Helen He Zhu, "The Laboratory of Inflammatory and Inflammatory-Related Tumors" led by Jing Xue, the "Prostate Cancer Biology and Disease Model Laboratory" led by Chee-Wai Chua, “Tumor Targeted Therapy” led by Guanglei Zhuang, “Interactions between Tumors and Microenvironment” led by Jun Gui and “Tumor Metabolism” led by Yanfeng Liu. The research covers stem cell division patterns and stem cell maintenance, tumor stem cell and epithelial-mesenchymal transition, tumor immunity, metabolism, microenvironment, targeted therapy, etc. The Ren Ji Clinical Stem Cell Research Center is very well-equipped with laser confocal microscopes, flow cytometers, slide scanner, X-rad irradiator, ultra-speed refrigerated centrifuge, quantitative PCR, etc.


Since its establishment, the Ren Ji Clinical Stem Cell Research center has developed very rapidly. By the end of 2020, it had obtained 75 national-level projects and 46 provincial-level projects. The total research funding exceeded 110 million CNY, including 2 program leaders and 2 sub-program leaders of National Key R&D Program of China, 3 key projects and 3 outstanding youth projects from National Natural Science Foundation (NSFC), 38 NSFC regular projects, 24 NSFC youth projects, 3 NSFC foreign youth projects. A number of important scientific research achievements with international influence have been produced. A total of 140 SCI papers have been published (19 papers with IF≥10 and 62 papers with 5≤IF<10, including publications in Gastroenterology, Nature Communications, Cell Research, Gut, PNAS, Clinical Cancer Research and other high-profile scientific journals). In addition, 15 patent applications have been filed and 4 authorized patents.


The center makes great effort in team building and talent recruitment. Eight principal investigators have been recruited from the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Malaysia. More than 20 staff have been selected into various national and Shanghai talent programs, including 1 National Distinguished Expert, 1 KC Wong Professor, 2 Shanghai globally recruited talents, Oriental Scholars, 3 Youth Oriental Scholars, 2 Shanghai Youth Talent Support Program, 1 Excellent youth scholar in shanghai health system, 4 Pujiang Talents, 3 Shanghai Science and Technology Rising-Stars, 1 Shanghai Science and Technology Yang Fan project. The center has already trained 12 post-doctors, 26 doctoral students and 22 master students. More than 10 PhD students were trained to become young talents with high academic aspirations for their post-doctoral research in several famous universities in United States including Harvard (2 persons), Yale, Columbia, Salk Institute (2 persons), Washington University, Northwest University, NIH, Baylor Medical College (2 persons), MD Anderson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and UCSD, respectively. Three Master students went to the University of Heidelberg, Karolinska Institute and Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) in Europe for their PhD degree, respectively. Many of them successfully applied national and Shanghai research funds or awards, including 2 national post-doctoral funds, 2 superstar postdoc programs, 1 Shanghai post-doctoral fund and 8 National scholarships.

The Clinical Stem Cell Research Center values both national and international scientific cooperation and exchanges. It has hosted multiple important academic activities and conferences, including the " international forum on stem cell division mode and stemness maintenance ", "Frontiers in stem cell and cancer research international conference" and so on.

In the next ten years, the Ren Ji Clinical Stem Cell Research Center will aim to further integrate its existing academic platforms and the clinical strength from Ren Ji hospital to study stem cells in development and tissue repair, tumor stem cells and tumorigenesis, to uncover new stem cells and tumor biomarkers, to provide new approaches for molecular classification of cancer, and to develop novel cancer diagnostic and treatment targets. The research center will strive to build a base with domestic and international influence for stem cell and cancer basic research and clinical translation.