Understanding the relationships between immune cells and stem cells for bone regenerative medicine

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

In progress.


Professor Yin Xiao
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr Yinghong Zhou
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


The skeletal system in human body undergoes a constant life-long process of adaptation, which consists of osteoblast-driven formation and osteoclast-driven resorption. The regenerative power of endogenous cells is required for bone development, repair and regeneration. This is controlled by various cell types that secrete a wide spectrum cytokines that temporally and spatially dictate stem cell commitment and modulate the bone microenvironment. Increasing evidence has shown that among the various types of cells that mediate bone formation and regeneration, macrophages play a critical role, providing signals to stem cells within the local and systemic environments.

Research activities

  • Create bone defects in small animals and harvest samples at different time points for immunohistological assessment of mesenchymal stem cells and macrophages.
  • Cellular and molecular approaches including primary cell culture, cellular metabolism assay, immunofluorescene labelling of cells, RT-qPCR and Western blotting will be applied to study the interactions between mesenchymal stem cells and macrophages.


  • Demonstrate the coupling of mesenchymal stem cells and macrophages during bone healing process.
  • Reveal the molecular mechanisms that drive the dynamic coupling of mesenchymal stem cells and macrophages.

Skills and experience

  • Have a background in Biological Sciences.
  • Ideally have experience with cell culture, in vitro assays and small animal handling.



Contact the supervisor for more information.