Li-Fang (Jack) Chu

Child Health & Wellness Researcher

Precision Medicine & Disease Mechanisms Program

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Comparative Biology and Experimental Medicine

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Contact information

Office hours

Lab: HMRB431
Office: HMRB408



  • Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
  • Cellular Reprogramming
  • Developmental Clock
  • Gene Oscillation
  • Gene Editing

Research Summary

The research interest of the Chu lab is to identify the principles governing temporal and spatial patterning in development and disease. Following fertilization, the early mammalian embryonic development process constitutes a rapid series of well-coordinated cellular events that are essential to set the organism’s body plan. During this process, the temporal and spatial coordination between multiple cell types and tissues is particularly important because the variation in the relative timing of these processes can have serious consequences for the health and well-being of an organism. The genetic and molecular basis of developmental timing is largely unknown and remains an enigma. To begin addressing these questions, we recently developed an in vitro segmentation clock model derived from human embryonic stem cells. Equipped with this novel system, we hope to understand how this developmental clock operates and how misregulation of the clock causes congenital vertebral malformation and identify novel therapeutic targets. We are also interested in a better understanding of early embryogenesis, cellular reprogramming, and disease modelling. We employ a combination of approaches to address these questions, including genetically engineered pluripotent stem cells, reprogramming, molecular biology, bulk and single-cell transcriptomics & bioinformatics, 3D organoids, real-time live-cell imaging, and animal models.