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Volume 2013, Article ID 574354, 20 pages
Review Article

Modeling to Optimize Terminal Stem Cell Differentiation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA

Received 26 November 2012; Accepted 18 December 2012

Academic Editors: B. Barré, B. S. Mankoo, and A. M. Turnley

Copyright © 2013 G. Ian Gallicano. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Embryonic stem cell (ESC), iPCs, and adult stem cells (ASCs) all are among the most promising potential treatments for heart failure, spinal cord injury, neurodegenerative diseases, and diabetes. However, considerable uncertainty in the production of ESC-derived terminally differentiated cell types has limited the efficiency of their development. To address this uncertainty, we and other investigators have begun to employ a comprehensive statistical model of ESC differentiation for determining the role of intracellular pathways (e.g., STAT3) in ESC differentiation and determination of germ layer fate. The approach discussed here applies the Baysian statistical model to cell/developmental biology combining traditional flow cytometry methodology and specific morphological observations with advanced statistical and probabilistic modeling and experimental design. The final result of this study is a unique tool and model that enhances the understanding of how and when specific cell fates are determined during differentiation. This model provides a guideline for increasing the production efficiency of therapeutically viable ESCs/iPSCs/ASC derived neurons or any other cell type and will eventually lead to advances in stem cell therapy.