Yi Zheng

Assistant Professor

Biomedical and Chemical Engineering

303H Bowne Hall



Lab/ Center/ Institute affiliations:

BioInspired Institute

Areas of Expertise:

  • Stem cell-based human developmental models
  • Microengineered organ/disease models (organoids)
  • Single cell genomics
  • Microfluidics
  • Mechanobiology

Embryonic development involves extensive lineage diversification, cell fate specification, tissue patterning and morphogenesis. Identification of the features that enable robust interpretation of developmental signaling using in vivo samples is a significant challenge. Recent studies of self-assembly processes of organ-like structures (organoids) from pluripotent stem cells in vitro have provided fresh insights into fundamental mechanisms underlying embryonic development. These stem cell-based in vitro models offer unparalleled opportunities for experimental control of key parameters, quantitative measurements, and mathematical modeling.

My lab sought to leverage sophisticated engineering approaches to achieve controllable in vitro platforms that could recapitulate sequential developmental events during human embryo development. These stem cell-based models will provide powerful experimental platforms to advance understanding of poorly understood embryonic disorders. With superior controllability and scalability, these platforms will also serve as effective tools for high-throughput drug and toxicity screening to facilitate diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of teratogenesis and birth defects.

Honors and Awards:

  • Robert M. Caddell Memorial Award, University of Michigan
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) CREATE Scholarships, University of Toronto
  • Barbara and Frank Milligan Fellowships, University of Toronto

Selected Publications:

  • Zheng Y, Yan RZ, Kobayashi M, Xiang L, Yang R, Goedel A, Kang Y, Xue X, Esfahani SN, Liu Y, Resto Irizarry AM, Wu W, Li Y, Ji W, Niu Y, Chien KR, Li T, Shioda T, Fu J. Single-cell analysis of embryoids reveals lineage diversification roadmaps of early human development. Cell Stem Cell. 2022. In Press
  • Zheng Y, Xue X, Shao Y, Wang S, Esfahani SN, Li Z, Muncie JM, Lakins JN, Weaver VM, Gumucio DL, Fu J. Controlled modelling of human epiblast and amnion development using stem cells. Nature. 2019;573(7774):421-5.
  • Zheng Y, Sun Y, Yu X, Shao Y, Zhang P, Dai G, Fu J. Angiogenesis in Liquid Tumors: An In Vitro Assay for Leukemic-Cell-Induced Bone Marrow Angiogenesis. Advanced Healthcare Materials. 2016;5(9):1014-24.
  • Zheng Y, Chen J, Cui T, Shehata N, Wang C, Sun Y. Characterization of red blood cell deformability change during blood storage. Lab on a Chip. 2014;14(3):577-83.
  • Zheng Y, Shojaei-Baghini E, Wang C, Sun Y. Microfluidic characterization of specific membrane capacitance and cytoplasm conductivity of single cells. Biosensors and Bioelectronics. 2013;42:496-502.