Lian receives Junior Investigator Award for stem cell breakthrough

September 19, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Xiaojun Lance Lian, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and biology, received the Junior Investigator Award at the 2018 Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Advanced Biomanufacturing Special Interest Group (ABioM-SIG) Meeting on August 23-24. Lian received the award for his groundbreaking research that focused on differentiating human stem cells into pancreatic beta cells, using small molecules.

"Traditionally, scientists used growth factors for human stem cell differentiation, which are expensive and less stable, preventing large scale production of pancreatic cells for treating diabetes" Lian said. "Instead, I use small molecules for stem cell differentiation, which are cheaper and more efficient."

Via this method, it is now possible to manufacture human pancreatic cells from stem cells on the scale needed to replace cells lost during disease. Because the small molecule method is more efficient and less costly, the patients will pay less money to receive cell therapy.    

Lian received the BMES ABioM-SIG Junior Investigator Award based on four criteria: significance, innovation, technical content, and clarity. He gave an oral presentation at the meeting based on his award-winning research titled "Chemically defined and growth-factor-free human stem cell differentiation."


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Jamie Oberdick

head and shoulder shot of Lance Lian

Xiaojun Lance Lian, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and biology



The Department of Biomedical Engineering administers the undergraduate major in biomedical engineering, and is a part of the university-wide Intercollege Graduate Degree Program, offering both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioengineering. Our work combines traditional engineering principles with medicine and technology for the betterment of human health and society. 

Department of Biomedical Engineering

122 Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-863-6614