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Yuanxiang (Ansel) Zhao

Ansel Zhao’s research interest lies in human adult stem cells, which are considered the “fountain of youth” in our body. Specifically, she and her students focus on understanding how human mesenchymal stem cells, a type of adult stem cells that can give rise to fat and bone cells, respond to environmental stimuli to turn into fat or bone cells, as well as how these cells change their behaviors upon exposure to certain pharmaceutical drug, dietary supplement or environmental chemical. She hopes her research could broaden our understanding of the basic biology of stem cell behavior and help shine light on issues such as obesity, aging, stem cell therapy and consumer product safety.

Recent Grants and Fellowships:

  • Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Health, (SC3) grant 1SC3GM116720, “Molecular and Cellular Profiling of Human Adipogenesis,” $435,000, 2016-2020
  • Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Health, (SC3) grant 1SC3GM094078, “Adipogenic toxicity studies of obesogenic drugs,” $422,640, 2010 – 2014
  • Principal Investigator, CSU Agriculture Research Institute grant, “Pesticides Toxicity Study with Human Adult Stem Cells,” $75,000, 2011-2013
  • Co-Principal Investigator, California Institute of Regenerative Medicine Bridges to Stem Cell Research Award (Principal Investigator: Dr. Jill Adler-Moore), $1,436,797, 2009-2012
  • Principal Investigator, California State Polytechnic University at Pomona RSCA (Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities), “A New Method of Culturing Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells”, $5000, 2010-2011
  • Cal Poly Pomona ADVANCE grant (ADVANCE grant Principal Investigator, Dr. Barbara Hacker), “The Role of Resveratrol on Human health: A study from the Stem Cell Perspective”, $10,000, 2010
  • Principal Investigator, CSUPERB (California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology) Faculty-Student Collaborative Research Seed grant, “A New Method of Culturing Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells”, $15,000, 2009-2010
  • Principal Investigator, CSUPERB, Faculty-Student Collaborative Research Seed grant, “The Effect of Bisphenol A On the Adipogenic Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells”, $14,895, 2008-2009

Selected Publications:

  • With A. Madrigal and L. Tan, “Expression Regulation and Functional Analysis of RGS2 and RGS4 in Adipogenic and Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells,” Biological Research, 50(1):43. PMID: 29279050, Dec. 2017
  • With M. Marquez, F. Alecastro, A. Madrigal, J.L. Jimenez, G. Blanco, A. Gureghian, L. Keagy, C. Lee, R. Liu, L. Tan, K. Deignan and B. Armstrong, “The Role of Cellular Proliferation in Adipogenic, Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells,” Stem Cells and Development, 26(21): 1578-1595. PMID: 2887410, Nov. 2017
  • Quang, M. Marquez and G. Blanco, “Dosage and Cell Line Dependent Inhibitory Effect of bFGF Supplement in Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Culture on Inactivated Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells,” PLoS ONE, 9(1): e86031, Jan. 2014
  • Peltz, J. Gomez, M. Marquez, F. Alencastro, N.Atashpanjeh, T. Quan and, T. Bach, “Resveratrol Exerts Dosage and Duration Dependent Effect on Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Development,” PLoS ONE 7(5): e37162, May 2012
  • Choudhary, M. Marquez, F. Alencastro, F. Spors and V. Tiwari, “Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1 (HSV-1) Entry into Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Is Heavily Dependent on Heparan Sulfate,” Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, 2011:264350, June 2011


B.S., Biology, Beijing Normal University

Ph.D., Molecular and Developmental Biology, University of Cincinnati


English and Chinese

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