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Wei-Bin Shen, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:

Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences


655 West Baltimore Street

Phone (Primary):




Education and Training

1983 – BSc, Department of Biology, Hangzhou University, China. Majoring in Biology

1987 – MSc, Reproductive Physiology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  Thesis Title: Opioid peptides participate the negative feedback regulation of sex steroid hormone on hypothalamic GnRH secretion

1995 – PhD, Neuroendocrinology, State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. Thesis Title: Regulation of adrenergic system and opioid peptides on hypothalamic GnRH secretion


I have a broad background in stem cells research, embryonic brain development, and molecular neuroscience, and a few year of experience on cell differentiation. I have applied the stem cells in the transplantation surgery in animal models to explore the potential stem cell therapy on diseases, and demonstrated that an external static magnet enhance the retention of magnetically labeled stem cells in the cell transplantation surgeries. The transplantation surgeries on animal models that I have performed includes traumatic brain injury (TBI), intra-ventricular microinjection at the fetal and neonatal brain, ultrasound-guided intra-cardiac microinjection at mouse embryos, non-invasive cell transplantation after blood-brain-barrier opening by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)-guided focal ultrasound (FUS).  Recently, I and the team have demonstrated that high glucose suppresses embryonic stem cell differentiation leading delayed neurogenesis followed by the neural tube defects during embryogenesis, and that high glucose also triggers Sca1+ cardiac progenitor apoptosis resulting in abnormal heart development.  My research interests are stem cell therapy on congenital neural tube defects, heart defects and neurodegenerative diseases.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Stem cell therapy, neurodegenerative diseases, neural tube defects, congenital heart defects

Highlighted Publications

Yang P, Yang WW, Chen X, Kaushal S, Dong D, Shen WB*. Maternal diabetes and high glucose in vitro trigger Sca1+ cardiac progenitor cell apoptosis through FoxO3a. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016 Nov 14. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2016.11.076. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 27856257.  * Corresponding author.

Yang P, Shen WB, Reece EA, Chen X, Yang P.  High glucose suppresses embryonic stem cell differentiation into neural lineage cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016 Apr 1;472(2):306-12. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2016.02.117. PMID: 26940741

Shen WB, Plachez C, Tsymbalyuk O, Tsymbalyuk N, Xu S, Smith A, Michel S, Yarnell D, Mullins R, Gulapalli R, Puche A, Simard JM, Fishman PS, Yarowsky P. Cell-based therapy in TBI: Magnetic retention of neural stem cells in vivo. Cell Transplant. 2015 Sep 21;PubMed PMID: 26395573.  

Messmer K*, Shen WB*, Remington M, Fishman PS. Induction of neural differentiation by the transcription factor neuroD2. Int J Dev Neurosci. 2012 Apr;30(2):105-12. PubMed PMID: 22197973. * Contribute equally

Additional Publication Citations

Shen W-B, Anastasiadis P, Nguyen B, Yarnell D, Yarowsky P, Frenkel V, Fishman P. Magnetic enhancement of stem cell targeted delivery into the brain following MR guided focused ultrasound for opening the blood brain barrier. 2017, submitted to Cell Transplantation

Yang P, Yang WW, Chen X, Kaushal S, Dong D, Shen W-B*. Maternal diabetes and high glucose in vitro trigger Sca1+ cardiac progenitor cell apoptosis through FoxO3a. BBRC 2017; 482:575-582. *: corresponding author

Wu Y, Reece EA, Zhong J, Dong D, Shen WB, Harman CR, Yang P. Type 2 diabetes mellitus induces congenital heart defects in murine embryos by increasing oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress and apoptosis. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2016, pii: S0002-9378(16)00528-7. [Epub ahead of print]

Shen WB, Yarowsky PJ. SIRB, a novel ultrasmall dextran nanoparticle as a control agent for cell magnetic labeling. Contrast Media Mol. Imaging 2016,11(3):222-8. doi: 10.1002/cmmi. 1684. Epub 2016 Jan 25

Shen W-B, Plachez C, Chan A, Puche A, Fishman PS, Yarowsky PJ. Human neural progenitor cells retain viability, proliferation, lineage differentiation, and migratory capability when labeled with novel iron oxide nanoparticle, Molday ION Rhodamine-B. Intl J Nanomed 2013, 8:4593-4600

McDowell KA, Shen W-B, Siebert AA, Sarah MC, Jinnah H, Sztalryd C, Fishman PS, Shaw CA, Jafri MS, Yarowsky PJ. Washed cycad flour contains β-N-methyl amino-L-alanine and may explain parkinsonism symptoms. 2011, 69(2):423-424

Yarowsky PJ, McDowell KA, Shen W-B, Siebert AA, Marle T, Jafri MS, Shaw CA. Environmental neurotoxin-induced progressive model of parkinsonism and sleep disturbance in rats. XIX World Congress on Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders, Shanghai, China. Dec 11-14, 2011

Shen WB, McDowell KA,Siebert AA, Clark SM, Dugger NV, Valentino KM, Jinnah HA, Sztalryd C, Fishman PS, Shaw CA, Jafri MS,Yarowsky PJ. Environmental neurotoxin-induced progressive model of parkinsonism in rats. Annual Neurology 2010, 67(5):1-11

Yarowsky PJ, McDowell KA, Shen W-B, Wilson JMB, Cruz-Aguado R, Marler T, Shaw CA. Cycad-Induced Neurodegeneration is Different in Rat and Mouse Models of ALS-PDC. In Proceedings of Cycad 2008. The 8th International Conference on Cycad Biology, Panama City, Panama, 13-15 January 2008. Pp 279-294

Ren T, Anderson A, Shen WB, Huang H, Plachez C, Zhang J, Mori S, Kinsman SL, Richards LJ. Imaging, anatomical, and molecular analysis of callosal formation in the developing human fetal brain.Anat Rec ADiscovMol Cell Evol Biol. 2006, 288:191-204

Shen WB, Plachez C, MongiAS, Richards LJ. Identification of novel genes at the corticoseptal boundary during development.  Gene Expression Patterns 2006, 6:471-81

Shu T, Shen WB, Richards RJ. The development of projects within the perforating pathway that intersect the corpus callosum. J Comp Neurobiol 2001, 6:411-422

Al-Damluji S, Shen WB, White S, Barnard EA. α1B adrenergic receptor in gonadotrophin releasing hormone neurons: relation to Transport P. Br J Pharmacol 2001, 132:336-344

Al-Damluji S, Shen WB. Release of amines from acidified stores following accumulation by Transport P. Br J Pharmacol 2001, 132:851-860

Searles RV, Yoo MJ, He JR, Shen WB, Selmanoff M. Sex differences in GABA turnover and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65 and GAD67) mRNA in the rat hypothalamus. Brain Res 2000, 878:11-19.

Yoo MJ, Searles RV, He JR, Shen WB, Grattan DR, Selmanoff M. Castration rapidly decreases hypothalamic gama aminobutyric acidergic neuronal activity in both male and female rats. Brain Res 2000, 878:1-10.

Research Interests

My research interests focus on stem cell therapy on neural tube defects, congenital heart defects and neurodegenerative diseases,  and intracellular signaling pathways that lead the birth defects.

Lab Techniques and Equipment

Stem cell research

  • Mouse embryonic stem cells, human neural progenitor cells, human amniotic fluid stem cells
  • Stem cell differentiation in vitro
  • Stem cell delivery by transplantation surgery and microinjection

 Animal models for exploring therapeutic intervention for diseases

  • Traumatic brain injury model and stem cell transplantation
  • MRI-guided FUS and stem cells transplantation
  • Parkinson’s disease model induced by Cycad flour neurotoxins
  • External magnet enhanced stem cell retention after transplantation
  • Ultrasound-guided in utero intra-cardiac microinjection

 Molecular biology

  • PCRs (including real-time PCR), DNA cloning and subcloning
  • Southern/Northern blot and Western blot, immunoprecipitation

Pathology analysis of tissues

  • Sectioning (vibrotome and cryostat sectioning)
  • Histology staining (e.g. HE staining)
  • Immunhistology and immunocytochemistry labeling
  • Microscopy (bright field, and fluorescent microscopy)
  • Confocal microscopy

Computer skills:

  • Microsoft Windows and office
  • Molecular biology software: e.g. Gene Discovery Studio/Mac Vector, Vector NTI
  • Image processing, densitometry analysis and graphing: photoshop, graphpad prism, Zeiss Axiovision, Nikon NIS-Element