Jorge Múnera received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and his Doctorate in Molecular Pathology from the University of California-San Diego. He is now an assistant professor at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
The Múnera laboratory studies the development of small intestine and colon using mouse models and human pluripotent stem cells. As a postdoctoral fellow in James M. Wells’ laboratory at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, he developed a method for generating human colonic organoids (HCOs) from human pluripotent stem cells. Remarkably these organoids not only contain colonic epithelium but also mesenchymal cells which are able to generate smooth muscle, fibroblasts and even immune cells such as macrophages. Using HCOs, his lab is working elucidate molecular mechanisms of congenital diseases that affect the colon using patient specific induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC) derived HCOs. This work should lead to new insights into diseases such as polyposis syndromes and inflammatory bowel disease.