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Faculty and Staff

Laijun Lai, M.D.

 

Department of Allied Health Sciences

ABL, Unit-4163

University of Connecticut

1390 Storrs Road

Storrs, CT 06269

Tel: 860-486-6073

E-mail: laijun.lai@uconn.edu

 

Education:

 

  • B.S., Medicine, Shanghai Medical University, China

  • M.D. Pathology, Fujian Medical University, China

Professional Experience:

 

1991-1995         Research Fellow, Department of Cancer Research

                          Fujian Institute of Medical Research, China

1995-2001         Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pathology

                          University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT

2001-2002         Scientist in Research Antigen

                          Protein Science Corporation, Meriden, CT

2002-2011         Assistant Professor, Department of Immunology,

                          University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT

8/1/2011-          Associate Research Professor, Department of Allied Health Sciences
                          and University of Connecticut Stem Cell Institute

                          University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

                            
Patents:
 
1. Goldschneider I and Lai L. “Hybrid Cytokine of IL-7 and b–chain of Hepatocyte Growth Factor” US patent No. 6,749,847.
 
2. Goldschneider I. and Lai, L. “Nucleic acids encoding a chimeric polypeptide comprising IL-7 and HGF-beta chain and methods of use” US patent No. 7,578,998B2.
 
Research Support:
 
    Active
 
1. Transplantation of ESC-derived thymic epithelial progenitors expressing autoantigen(s) ameliorating experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis 2/1/2016-1/31/2021
Role: Principal Investigator
NIH R01
Total Award: $ 1,951,981

2. Inducing immune tolerance to hESCs and their derivatives by the hESC-derivedthymic epithelial cells
10/01/12-9/30/16     
Role: Principal Investigator
Established Investigator Grant from the CT Stem Cell Program, CT Innovations
Total Award: $750,000
 
3. Modeling and correcting immunodeficiency in DiGeorge syndrome by ESC- and iPSC-derived thymic epithelial cells
11/01/2016-10/31/2020     
Role: Principal Investigator
Established Investigator Grant from the CT Stem Cell Program, CT Innovations
Total Award: $675,500
 
    Completed
 
1. Generation of hematopoietic stem cells and T cell progenitors from human ESCs10/01/10-9/30/14     
Role: Principal Investigator
Established Investigator Grant from CT Stem Cell Program
CT Innovation
Total Award: $1,000,000
 
2. Immunotherapy of melanoma and colon cancer by a recombinant IL-7/HGFβ protein      10/1/10-8/31/13                                 
Role: Principal Investigator
Connecticut Department of Public Health
Total Award: $439,243
 
3. Anti-tumor activity induced by a novel hybrid cytokine07/01/08-02/28/11  
Role: Principal Investigator
#2009-0098, Connecticut Department of Public Health
Total Award: $309,688
 
4. Cytokine induced production of transplantable hematopoietic stem cells from human ES cells09/1/08-02/28/11    
Role: Principal Investigator
08-SCA-UCHC-009
A Seed Grant from CT Stem Cell Program, Connecticut Innovation
Total Award: $200,000
 
5. Antitumor activity induced by a hybrid cytokine IL-7/HGFβ 7/2007-6/2009
Role: Principal Investigator
IRG-06-002-01, American Cancer Society
 
Selected Publications:
 
Lai L, Chen F, McKenna SD, and Goldschneider I. Identification of an IL-7-associated pre-pro-B cell growth-stimulating factor (PPBSF). II. PPBSF is a covalently-linked heterodimer of IL-7 and an Mr 30,000 cofactor. Journal of Immunology,160:2280-2286, 1998.

McKenna SD, Chen F, Lai L, and Goldschneider I.  Identification of an IL-7-associated pre-pro-B cell growth-stimulating factor (PPBSF). I. Production of a non-IL-7 component of PPBSF by bone marrow stromal cells from IL-7 gene-deleted mice. Journal of Immunology. 160:2272-2279, 1998.

Lai L and Goldschneider I.   Identification of a hybrid cytokine of IL-7 and the b chain of hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor/scatter factor. Journal of Immunology, 167: 3550-3554, 2001.

Wei C, Lai L and Goldschneider I. Pre-pro-B cell growth-stimulating factor (PPBSF) upregulates IL-7Ra chain expression and enables pro-B cells to respond to monomeric IL-7. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research 22:823-832, 2002.

Lai L, Zeff  RA, and Goldschneider I.  A recombinant single-chain IL-7/HGFb hybrid cytokine induces juxtacrine interactions of the IL-7 and HGF (c-met) receptors and stimulates the proliferation of CFU-S12, common lymphoid progenitors (CLP) and pre-pro-B cells.  Blood. 107:1776-1784, 2006.

Lai L. and Jin J. Generation of thymic epithelial progenitors from mouse embryonic stem cells. Stem cells. 27:3012-3020, 2009.

Lai L, Jin J and Goldschneider I.  In vivo antitumor activity of a recombinant IL-7/HGFb hybrid cytokine in mice. Cancer Research. 71:61-67, 2011.

Lai L, Cui C, Jin J, Hao Z, Zhen Q, Ying M, Boyd R and Zhao Y. Mouse embryonic stem cell-derived thymic epithelial cell progenitors enhance T cell reconstitution after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Blood, 118:3410-3418, 2011.

Lai L, Jin J and Goldschneider I. A human recombinant IL-7/HGF alpha chain hybrid cytokine enhances T cell regeneration after bone marrow transplantation. Transplantation, 92:516-522, 2011.

Jin J, Goldschneider I and Lai L. In vivo administration of the rIL-7/HGFb hybrid cytokine efficiently restores the thymopoiesis and naïve T cell generation in lethally-irradiated mice after syngeneic bone marrow transplantation. Journal of Immunology, 186: 1915-1922, 2011.

Lai L, Zhang M and Goldschneider I. The recombinant IL-7/HGFb efficiently induces transplantable murine hematopoietic stem cells. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 122(10):3552-3562. 2012.

Zhang M, Shi J, Huang Y, Lai L. Expression of canonical WNT/beta-CATENIN signaling components in the developing human lung. BMC Dev Biol. 12(1):21-25. 2012.

Lai L Zhang M, Song Y, and Rood D. Recombinant IL-7/HGFβ hybrid cytokine enhances T cell recovery following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Plos ONE 8(12): e82998, 2013.

Yan Y, Su M, Song Y, Tang Y, Tian XC, Rood D and Lai L. Tbx1 Modulates Endodermal and Mesodermal Differentiation from Mouse Induced Pluripotent Stem cells. Stem cells and Development. Jul 1, 23(13):1491-500, 2014.

Song Y, Su M, Panchatsharam P, Rood D, and Lai L. c-Met signaling is required for efficient postnatal thymic regeneration and repair in mice. Immunology. 144(2):245-253, 2015.

Tran TH, Nguyen CT, Gonzalez-Fajardo L, Hargrove D, Song D, Deshmukh P, Mahajan L, Ndaya D, Lai L, Kasi RM, Lu X. Long circulating self-assembled nanoparticles from cholesterol-containing brush-like block copolymers for improved drug delivery to tumors. Biomacromolecules. 15(11):4363-75, 2014.

Su M, Song Y, He Z, Hu R, Rood D, and Lai L. Administration of embryonic stem cell-derived thymis epithelial progenitors expressing myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein induces antigen-specific tolerance and ameliorates EAE.  J Autoimmun. 58:36-47, 2015.

Su M, Hu R, Jin J, Yan Y, Song Y, Sullivan R, and Lai L. Efficient in vitro generation of functional thymic epithelial progenitors from human embryonic stem cells. Scientific Reports, 5: 9882, 2015.

Song Y, Su M, Zhu J, Di W, Liu Y, Hu R, Rood D, and Lai L. Recombinant FoxN1 protein enhances T cell regeneration after bone marrow transplantation. European Journal of Immunology, accepted, manuscript online: 29 APR 2016; DOI: 10.1002/eji.201546196. PMID: 27125859.

Hu R, Liu Y Su M, Song Y, Rood D, and Lai L. Transplantation of donor-origin mouse embryonic stem cell-derived thymic epithelial progenitors prevents the development of chronic graft-versus-host disease in mice. Stem Cell Translational Medicine, 2016 Aug 2. pii: sctm.2016-0012. PMID: 27484865.

Song Y, Liu Y, Hu R, Su M, Rood D, and Lai L. A recombinant IL-7/IL-15 hybrid cytokine enhances antitumor immunity in mice. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 2016 Jul 29. pii: molcanther.0111.2016. PMID: 27474151.

Hu R, Liu Y, Song Y, Su M, Liu X, Rood D, and Lai L. Recombinant IL-7/HGFβ hybrid cytokine separates acute graft-versus-host-disease from graft-versus-tumor activity by altering donor T cell trafficking. British Journal of Hematology, 2016 Jul 22. doi: 10.1111/bjh.14268. PMID: 27447780
 
Book Chapter:
 
Lai L. Rejuvenation of the aged thymic microenvironment by ESC-derived thymic epithelial progenitors. pp. 301-310. In “Embryonic Stem Cells-Recent Advances in Pluripotent Stem Cell-Based Regeneration Medicine”, edited by Craig S. Atwood. INTECH, 2011.
 
Professional Societies:
 
Member of American Society of Immunologists
Member of International Society for Stem Cell Research
Member of American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation

about AHS
The demand for qualified technologists in cytogenetics and molecular diagnostics has meant that graduates of the Diagnostic Genetic Sciences Program typically have a choice of employment opportunities throughout the country.

 

Department of Allied Health Sciences
College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources
358 Mansfield Road, Unit 1101
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-1101
Telephone: (860) 486-2834
Fax: (860) 486-5375