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Craft Lab Research | Overview

The Craft lab studies the development of cartilage and other synovial joint tissues, with the goal of applying this knowledge toward the development of therapeutics for disease attenuation and tissue regeneration and repair. We use pluripotent stem cells as a platform to learn how musculoskeletal lineages, primarily articular chondrocytes and cartilage tissues, are specified during embryonic development, and to create clinically relevant cells and tissues for repair.

By providing developmental signals that mimic how cartilage is specified in the embryo, our lab has developed methods that enable us to reproducibly and efficiently generate two distinct cartilage lineages from human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (collectively hPSCs). One chondrocyte lineage has the ability to generate stable cartilage in vivo (a function of articular cartilage) and the other produces a cartilaginous tissue that undergoes ossification (a function of growth plate cartilage to form new bone).

Our efforts are now focused on further understanding how these different types of cartilage are specified, evaluating the efficacy of these tissues to repair damaged cartilage in preclinical animal models, and expanding our research program to study other synovial joint lineages such as tendons/ligaments and synovium.