Novel proteomics-based method to reprogram human pluripotent stem cells into healthier and more connected neurons (No. 0122, 0212)

<< Back to all technologies


Stem cells are of huge importance to regenerative medicine because of their ability to develop into any specialized cell in the body. In 2006, the sourcing and ethical issues of traditional embryonic stem cells were addressed by the development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). iPSCs are adult somatic cells which are chemically or genetically reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells. Whilst reprogramming iPSCs into basic cell types is relatively easy, huge challenges remain in successfully growing fully functional tissue, such as connected and functioning neurons. For this reason, iPSCs are not yet a therapeutic reality to patients today. A team of OIST researchers led by Dr. Zacharie Taoufiq has developed a groundbreaking proteomics approach that identifies the optimum growth factors for the differentiation of iPSCs into functional and much better connected neurons. This represents a major step towards the development of commercial iPSC-based treatments for patients.

Lead Researcher:
Zacharie Taoufiq

Staff Scientist of Cellular & Molecular Synaptic Function Unit


  • Regenerative medicine
  • Human iPSC reprogramming
  • Proteomic analysis of cellular proteins
  • Patient stratification for clinical trials



  • Healthier, more functional cells
  • Quantitative proteomic analysis
  • Applicable to other target cell types

OIST’s UD proteomic screening identified 11025 proteins, compared to only 3688 using HD proteomics

The team successfully differentiated patient-derived iPSCs into healthy neurons with functional synapses

     Click on the images to enlarge


OIST’s innovative ultra-definition (UD) proteomic screening quantitatively identifies three times more cell receptor proteins than conventional high-definition (HD) proteomic methods, allowing for the optimization of growth factor cocktails. Adding the corresponding receptor-matching ligands to the iPSC growth medium greatly improves cell development and synaptogenesis, producing much healthier and better connected neurons from patient-derived iPSCs. This UD proteomic screening method can also be adapted to optimize stem cell reprogramming into other types of tissue, such as heart, skin, liver, blood, kidney, lung, retinal, and pancreatic cells.


Media Coverage and Presentations



  Graham Garner
Technology Licensing Section