Charles Chan, Assistant Professor
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford School of Medicine. At Stanford, I am also a member of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and the Immunology Program. My group is composed of postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, medical students, and undergraduates. My research focuses on the biology of stem cells and stem cell niches. Niches are the highly specialized but poorly understood microenvironments that regulate stem cell activity. Using a reductionist approach, my team pioneered techniques to identify and isolate stem/progenitor cells of individual tissue types, including bone, cartilage, and blood vessels. These basic components can also be combined together to reconstitute a functional bone marrow niche that can support hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Tracing the stem cell origins of stromal cells in the bone marrow has led us to identify both the mouse and human skeletal stem cell (SSC), which have the ability to make bone, cartilage, and HSC niches but not fat. Our group is currently developing new methods to analyze stem cell niches of SSC and HSC at the single cell level to facilitate the development of novel treatment strategies.