Yuguo Lei

Contact Information:
City Campus (Lincoln)
(402) 472-5313

Assistant Professor
Academic Degrees
  • Postdoc, California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, UC Berkeley
  • PhD, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, UCLA
  • MS, Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, UCLA School of Medicine
  • MPhil, Polymer Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • BS, Chemistry, Peking University
Areas of Research and Professional Interest

Use engineering expertise and human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) biology to resolve unsolved human health problems.

Develop new concepts and technologies for addressing the significant challenges in the process from benchtop to bedside for hPSC-derived cells.

  • hPSC-derived synthetic tissues for the next-generation regenerative medicine

  • GMP compliant 3D culture system for the scalable production of stem cells and synthetic tissues

  • Efficient combination stem cell therapies for various degenerative diseases (parkinson's, huntington's, alzheimer's, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke, myocardial infarction and diabetes)

  • Novel biomaterials mimicking the transitional extracellular matrixes for stem cell expansion and delivery

  • Synthetic 3D human tissue arrays for high throughput drug discovery


University of California, Berkeley

  • Developed a simple, efficient, defined and GMP compliant 3D culture system for human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) expansion and differentiation.  This system has the potential to change hPSC culture practices and to be the first cost-effective approach for producing clinical-grade cells from hPSCs at various scales, resolving a major challenge that currently limits the applications of hPSCs or their derivatives in drug discovery, tissue engineering and cell therapies.
  • Created a completely defined, small-molecule-based protocol that can efficiently convert hPSCs into dopaminergic (DA) neurons within the 3D culture system, resulting in a GMP compliant bioprocess for making sufficient DA neurons for future clinical trials (~1011-12 cells) and other industrial applications.  These cells are currently being tested for treating Parkinson’s in rats.
  • Researched on engineering protein ligands for activating or inhibiting the canonical Wnt signaling.

University of California, Los Angeles

  • Developed protease degradable hyarulonic acid hydrogels for stem cell culture and delivery; systematically studied the relationship between gel properties and stem cell behaviors; demonstrated their applications in 3D culturing MSCs, neural stem cells and vascular stem cells.
  • Developed and demonstrated the concept of cell-mediated gene delivery.  Non-viral gene delivery nanoparticles were loaded into protease degradable hydrogels.  Cells were transfected only when they degraded the hydrogels and uptake nanoparticles around them.
  • Developed a universal process for loading concentrated, un-aggregated and active polyplexes into various hydrogels (up to 5mg pDNA/mL hydrogel tested).
  • Indentified the intracellular targets for three small molecule inhibitors of Rapamycin (SMIRs) using affinity chromatography plus protein mass spectrometry.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

  • Systematically studied the early stages of polymer spherulitic crystal growth. The birth of the embryo nuclei, the growth & branching of the founding lamella were observed in-situ and real time for the first time.
  • Investigated the surface segregation phenomenon of blend polymer materials using AFM, ToF-SIMS, XPS.

Peking University

  • Prepared several polyamine dendrimers, and attached peptide antigens to their surfaces to make structure-defined synthetic vaccines.