Professional Education

  • Doctor of Medicine, Drexel University (2004)
  • Bachelor of Science, University of California Los Angeles (2000)

Stanford Advisors

  • Ming Wu, Postdoctoral Research Mentor


Journal Articles

  • Identification of cardiovascular lineage descendants at single-cell resolution. Development Li, G., Plonowska, K., Kuppusamy, R., Sturzu, A., Wu, S. M. 2015; 142 (5): 846-857


    The transcriptional profiles of cardiac cells derived from murine embryos and from mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) have primarily been studied within a cell population. However, the characterization of gene expression in these cells at a single-cell level might demonstrate unique variations that cannot be appreciated within a cell pool. In this study, we aimed to establish a single-cell quantitative PCR platform and perform side-by-side comparison between cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) and cardiomyocytes (CMs) derived from mESCs and mouse embryos. We first generated a reference map for cardiovascular single cells through quantifying lineage-defining genes for CPCs, CMs, smooth muscle cells (SMCs), endothelial cells (EDCs), fibroblasts and mESCs. This panel was then applied against single embryonic day 10.5 heart cells to demonstrate its ability to identify each endocardial cell and chamber-specific CM. In addition, we compared the gene expression profile of embryo- and mESC-derived CPCs and CMs at different developmental stages and showed that mESC-derived CMs are phenotypically similar to embryo-derived CMs up to the neonatal stage. Furthermore, we showed that single-cell expression assays coupled with time-lapse microscopy can resolve the identity and the lineage relationships between progenies of single cultured CPCs. With this approach, we found that mESC-derived Nkx2-5(+) CPCs preferentially become SMCs or CMs, whereas single embryo-derived Nkx2-5(+) CPCs represent two phenotypically distinct subpopulations that can become either EDCs or CMs. These results demonstrate that multiplex gene expression analysis in single cells is a powerful tool for examining the unique behaviors of individual embryo- or mESC-derived cardiac cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1242/dev.116897

    View details for PubMedID 25633351

  • Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes as an in vitro model for coxsackievirus b3-induced myocarditis and antiviral drug screening platform. Circulation research Sharma, A., Marceau, C., Hamaguchi, R., Burridge, P. W., Rajarajan, K., Churko, J. M., Wu, H., Sallam, K. I., Matsa, E., Sturzu, A. C., Che, Y., Ebert, A., Diecke, S., Liang, P., Red-Horse, K., Carette, J. E., Wu, S. M., Wu, J. C. 2014; 115 (6): 556-566


    Rationale: Viral myocarditis is a life-threatening illness that may lead to heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias. A major causative agent for viral myocarditis is the B3 strain of coxsackievirus, a positive-sense RNA enterovirus. However, human cardiac tissues are difficult to procure in sufficient enough quantities for studying the mechanisms of cardiac-specific viral infection. Objective: This study examined whether human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) could be used to model the pathogenic processes of coxsackievirus-induced viral myocarditis and to screen antiviral therapeutics for efficacy. Methods and Results: Human iPSC-CMs were infected with a luciferase-expressing coxsackievirus B3 strain (CVB3-Luc). Brightfield microscopy, immunofluorescence, and calcium imaging were utilized to characterize virally-infected hiPSC-CMs for alterations in cellular morphology and calcium handling. Viral proliferation in hiPSC-CMs was quantified using bioluminescence imaging. Antiviral compounds including interferon beta 1 (IFNβ1), ribavirin, pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate, and fluoxetine were tested for their capacity to abrogate CVB3-Luc proliferation in hiPSC-CMs in vitro. The ability of these compounds to reduce CVB3-Luc proliferation in hiPSC-CMs was consistent with reported drug effects in previous studies. Mechanistic analyses via gene expression profiling of hiPSC-CMs infected with CVB3-Luc revealed an activation of viral RNA and protein clearance pathways after IFNβ1 treatment. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that hiPSC-CMs express the coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor, are susceptible to coxsackievirus infection, and can be used to predict antiviral drug efficacy. Our results suggest that the hiPSC-CM/CVB3-Luc assay is a sensitive platform that can screen novel antiviral therapeutics for their effectiveness in a high-throughput fashion.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.303810

    View details for PubMedID 25015077

  • Essential and Unexpected Role of Yin Yang 1 to Promote Mesodermal Cardiac Differentiation CIRCULATION RESEARCH Gregoire, S., Karra, R., Passer, D., Deutsch, M., Krane, M., Feistritzer, R., Sturzu, A., Domian, I., Saga, Y., Wu, S. M. 2013; 112 (6): 900-U104


    Cardiogenesis is regulated by a complex interplay between transcription factors. However, little is known about how these interactions regulate the transition from mesodermal precursors to cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs). Objective: To identify novel regulators of mesodermal cardiac lineage commitment.We performed a bioinformatic-based transcription factor binding site analysis on upstream promoter regions of genes that are enriched in embryonic stem cell-derived CPCs. From 32 candidate transcription factors screened, we found that Yin Yang 1 (YY1), a repressor of sarcomeric gene expression, is present in CPCs in vivo. Interestingly, we uncovered the ability of YY1 to transcriptionally activate Nkx2.5, a key marker of early cardiogenic commitment. YY1 regulates Nkx2.5 expression via a 2.1-kb cardiac-specific enhancer as demonstrated by in vitro luciferase-based assays, in vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation, and genome-wide sequencing analysis. Furthermore, the ability of YY1 to activate Nkx2.5 expression depends on its cooperative interaction with Gata4 at a nearby chromatin. Cardiac mesoderm-specific loss-of-function of YY1 resulted in early embryonic lethality. This was corroborated in vitro by embryonic stem cell-based assays in which we showed that the overexpression of YY1 enhanced the cardiogenic differentiation of embryonic stem cells into CPCs.These results demonstrate an essential and unexpected role for YY1 to promote cardiogenesis as a transcriptional activator of Nkx2.5 and other CPC-enriched genes.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.113.259259

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316189900007

    View details for PubMedID 23307821

  • At a Crossroad Cell Therapy for Cardiac Repair CIRCULATION RESEARCH Deutsch, M., Sturzu, A., Wu, S. M. 2013; 112 (6): 884-890

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