Abbas Shafiee, Jatin Patel, Nicholas M Fisk, Dietmar Hutmacher, Kiarash Khosrotehrani*


1 - The University of Queensland, UQ Centre for Clinical Research, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
2 -
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia


The existence of bipotential precursors for both mesenchymal and endothelial stem/progenitor cells in postnatal life is debated. Here, we hypothesized that such progenitors are present within the human term placenta. Although heterogeneity could be observed within placental cells using CD45, CD34, CD31 and CD144, the CD45-CD34+CD31loCD144+ population of interest showed differentiation potential to both endothelial and mesenchymal colonies in culture. RNA sequencing and functional analysis demonstrated that while Notch signalling is a key driver for endothelial and bipotential progenitor function, it had no effect on mesenchymal cells.  Additionally, the formation of mesenchymal cells from the bipotential population is not mediated through a classical Endothelial-Mesenchymal Transition pathway. Further exploration revealed that bipotential and endothelial progenitors are subluminally positioned below but not in contact with the intima of blood vessels in vivo. This study documents for the first time a bipotential progenitor in human placenta at the cellular and molecular level, which offers insight into early development.


Biographic Details

Name: Abbas Shafiee

Title: Dr.

Affiliation: The University of Queensland, UQ Centre for Clinical Research, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Phone: +61406841866. E-mail:

Research interests: Stem Cells; Cardiovascular Regeneration; Humanized Mouse Model.


My name is Abbas Shafiee. I am postdoctoral research fellow specialized in stem cell biology, and tissue engineering. During my master’s project I developed a new cartilage substitute by combining the nano-scale biomaterials and stem cells with potential application in human tissue regeneration. Thereafter, I joined The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR), to undertake my PhD. My PhD study at UQ focused on the in vivo definition of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) from the human term placenta tissues. As a result of this project, I established a new in vivo hierarchy amongst EPCs. In addition, we successfully isolated and delineated diverse fetal mesenchymal and endothelial populations directly from human tissue, which could have significant potential for clinical applications in the future. Since April 2016 I joined Queensland University of Technology and conducted a project on application of EPC for in vivo modelling of bone marrow tissue.



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