Yangzi Jiang

Postdoctoral Fellow
Postdoctoral Fellow



University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

·         Postdoctoral Associate with Dr. Rocky S. Tuan, July 2012 – Present - Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering

Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

·         Endeavour Research Fellow with Dr. Yin Xiao, Jan. 2012 – May 2012 - Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation

Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

·         Undergraduate/Graduate research with Dr. Hong Wei Ouyang, Oct. 2006 – June 2012

·         Ph.D., Sports Medicine, School of Medicine, July 2007 – June 2012

·         B. S., Biology Science, Collage of Life Science, Sept. 2003 – June 2007

Thesis: “Cartilage Stem/Progenitor Cells for Cartilage Repair”




Stem/Progenitor Cell-based Cartilage Regeneration and Tissue Engineering Application

My research work has focused on tissues of the musculoskeletal system, particularly cartilage, as it has a very limited self-repair ability and unhealed articular cartilage lesions can induce mechanical instability of the joint and lead to more serious problems like osteoarthritis. I have sought to understand the stem/progenitor cell origin of human articular cartilage, conditions governing tissue growth and repair, and apply this knowledge to produce functional tissue replacements for clinical use.

Cartilage/Bone Regeneration and Tissue Engineering

1.      Understand cellular and molecular mechanisms of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) chondrogenesis and osteogenesis. Evaluated the efficacy of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) in inducing MSC differentiation and chondrocyte phenotype maintenance1 and explored the mechanism for biomaterial/small molecule-induced subchondral bone healing2.

2.      Designed, fabricated and evaluated scaffolds for bone and cartilage repair. Used biomaterials3,4,5,6 and/or growth factors1,7,8 to create the tissue repair environment; guided tissue regeneration by recruiting internal stem/progenitor cells1,8.

3.      New strategy for transplanting human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into cartilage9, 10.

4.      Tissue specific stem/progenitor cells in articular cartilage. Investigating the identification and derivation of cartilage stem/progenitor cells, and collaborating with surgeons to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy11.


Translation Cell-based Cartilage Repair Therapy from Bench to Bedside

In addition to experimental research, I worked with Prof. Ouyang to establish the standards and clinical translation of autologous cell-based tissue engineering techniques12 as Class III therapeutics13 in China. So far more than 80 patients have been treated successfully with the chondrocyte-based therapy, including young athletes and patients with large cartilage defects11.



Cellular and Molecular Mechanism of Osteoarthritis

Pathology for Osteoarthritis and Degenerative Joint Diseases

My current research work focuses on the cartilage stem/progenitor cells, and their roles in osteoarthritis pathogenesis14, 15, 16. My near future plan is to establish new therapeutic strategies based on targeting the disease activated stem/progenitor cells.



1.      Jiang Y, Chen LK, Zhu DC, Zhang GR, Qi YY, Ouyang HW, The Inductive Effect of Bone Morphogenetic Protein-4 on Chondral-lineage Differentiation and In Situ Cartilage Repair. Tissue Engineering Part A 2010 May;16(5):1621-32.

2.      Jiang Y, Chen L, Zhang S, Tong T, Zhang W, Liu W, Xu G, Tuan RS, Heng BC, Crawford R, Xiao Y, Ouyang HW. Incorporation of Bioactive Polyvinylpyrrolidone-iodine within Bilayered Collagen Scaffolds Enhances the Differentiation and Subchondral Osteogenesis of Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Acta Biomaterialia 2013 Sep;9(9):8089-98

3.      Wang W, Li B, Li Y, Jiang YZ, Ouyang H, Gao C. In Vivo Restoration of Full-thickness Cartilage Defects by Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) Sponges Filled with Fibrin Gel, Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells and DNA Complexes. Biomaterials 2010 Aug; 31(23):5953-65.

4.      Zhang S, Chen L, Jiang Y, Cai Y, Xu G, Tong T, Zhang W, Wang L, Ji J, Shi P, Ouyang HW. Bi-layer Collagen/Microporous Electrospun Nanofiber Scaffold Improves the Osteochondral Regeneration. Acta Biomaterialia 2013 Jul;9(7):7236-47.

5.      Zou XH, Cai HX, Yin Z, Chen X, Jiang YZ, Hu H, Ouyang HW, A Novel Strategy Incorporating the Power of Mesenchymal Stem Cells into Allografts for Segmental Bone Tissue Engineering. Cell Transplantation 2009 ;18(4):433-41.

6.      Cai YZ, Zhang GR, Wang LL, Jiang YZ, Ouyang HW, Zou XH. Novel Biodegradable Three-dimensional Macroporous Scaffold Using Aligned Electrospun Nanofibrous Yarns for Bone Tissue Engineering. J Biomed Mater Res A 2012 May;100(5):1187-94. 

7.      Qi YY, Chen X, Jiang YZ, Cai HX, Wang LL, Hieu NT, Ouyang HW. Local Delivery of Autologous Platelet in Collagen Matrix Synergistically Stimulated In-situ Articular Cartilage Repair. Cell Transplantation 2009 ;18(10):1161-9. 

8.      Zhang W, Chen J, Tao J, Jiang YZ, Hu C, Huang L, Ji J, Ouyang HW. The Use of Type 1 Collagen Scaffold Containing Stromal Cell-Derived Factor-1 to Create a Matrix Environment Conducive to Partial-thickness Cartilage Defects Repair. Biomaterials 2013 Jan; 34(3):713-23.

9.      Zhang S, Jiang YZ, Zhang W, Chen L, Tong T, Liu W, Mu Q, Liu H, Ji J, Ouyang HW, Zou X. Neonatal Desensitization Supports Long-term Survival and Functional Integration of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Rat Joint Cartilage Without Immunosuppression. Stem Cells and Development 2013 Jan; 22(1):90-101.

10.  Jiang Y, Tong T, Ouyang HW. Book chapter: Cartilage Injuries: Role of implantation of Human cartilage Stem/Progenitor Cells. STEM CELLS AND CANCER STEM CELLS: Therapeutic Applications in Disease and Injury, Springer Company. 2011

11.  Jiang Y, Cai Y, Zhang W, Hu C, Tong T, Lu P, Zhang S, Neculai D, Tuan R, Ouyang HW. Human Cartilage Derived Progenitor Cells (hCDPCs) from Committed Chondrocytes for Efficient Cartilage Repair and Regeneration. Stem Cells Translational Medicine. 2016; 5:1-12. 

12.  Jiang YZ, Zhang SF, Wang LL, Ouyang HW. Cell Transplantation for Articular Cartilage Defects: Principles of Past, Present and Future Practice. Cell Transplantation 2010;20(5):593-607.

13.  Zhang W, Heng BC, Jiang Y**, Ouyang HW*. Clinical Translation of Autologous Cell-based Tissue Engineering Techniques as Class III Therapeutics in China: Taking Cartilage Tissue Engineering as An Example. Journal of Orthopaedic Translation, 2014; 2(2):56-65

14.  Jiang Y, Tuan R. Origin and Function of Cartilage Stem/Progenitor Cells in Osteoarthritis. Nature Reviews Rheumatology. 2015 Apr;11(4):206-12

15.  Jiang Y, Hu C, Yu S, Yan J, Peng H, Ouyang HW, Tuan RS. Cartilage Stem/Progenitor Cells Are Activated in Osteoarthritis via Interleukin-1β/Nerve Growth Factor Signaling. Arthritis Research and Therapy. 2015 Nov 17;17:327. doi: 10.1186/s13075-015-0840-x

16.  He J†, Jiang Y†, Alexander PG, Ulici V, Zhu Y, Wu S, Tuan RS. Infrapatellar Fat Pad Aggravates Degeneration of Acute Traumatized Cartilage: A Possible Role for Interleukin-6. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 2016 Sep pii: S1063-4584(16)30266-7. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2016.09.001 


  • PhD


  • Apr. 2015 Randall Family Big Idea Competition, 4th. Innovation Institute, Univ. of Pittsburgh
  • Jan. 2013 Science and Technology Progress Award 1st Prize, Ministry of Education, China
  • Jan. 2012 Endeavour Research Fellowship (Merit-based Endeavour Award), Ministry of Education, Australia