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Research Director

Dr. James Dunn

Dr. James Dunn has a background in biology, engineering, and medicine. Dr. Dunn obtained his B.S. degree in Biology and Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology and his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interest focuses on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine of the gastrointestinal system. Dr. Dunn’s laboratory is part of the NIH Intestinal Stem Cell Consortium, and is also funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine for neural progenitor cell therapy. Dr Dunn has extensive experience with animal models of intestinal disease. His lab developed an in vivo model to test the ability of intestinal stem cells to self-renew and to differentiate into various cell lineages. Dr. Dunn is also developing a device that will induce growth and lengthening of the intestine. 

Mission Statement


To generate missing tissue for infants and children with organ insufficiency



  • Understand the interaction between stem cells and their environment
  • Develop cell-based therapy for pediatric disorders
  • Define the effect of mechanical force on cell and tissue growth

Research Team

Chih-hsin Chen

After pursuing his graduate training in Maryland, Chih-hsin moved west to enjoy the sunshine in California.


He joined Stanford and began to explore various molecular pathways and animal models in order to understand the fundamentals of cell development and its relationship to disease progression. In addition to routine bench work, Chihhsin feels honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with teams to set up and manage labs. Currently he is focusing on utilizing enteric stem cells to advance his studies.

Chihhsin also devotes himself to spending time with his family and building LEGO models while he is off duty.


Modupeola Diyaolu

Modupeola Diyaolu, MD is a postdoctoral scholar at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford in the pediatric surgery department. 


She attended Tufts University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biopsychology. Modupeola earned her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her research focuses on chest wall deformities, short-gut syndrome, nephroblastoma, and the use of virtual reality during surgical procedures. She is interested in pursuing a career in pediatric surgery.


Jordan Taylor

Jordan Taylor is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Division of Pediatric Surgery. 


Jordan is a graduate of UC San Diego School of Medicine and is a current general surgery resident in New York with an interest in pediatric surgery. His research in the lab is focused on the use of skin-derived precursor cells for the treatment of Hirschprung's Disease, and other diseases involving enteric nervous system dysfunction. Jordan's other project is investigating the use of stem cells to regenerate enteric epithelium in a murine model of enterocyte dysfunction causing iron deficiency anemia. 

Outside the lab, Jordan enjoys the California sun, being close to family, and spending time with his new wife, Kristie.


Anne-Laure Thomas

Anne-Laure primarily joined Dr Dunn's lab in June 2015 as an Intern Student while completing her Masters Degree in Bioengineering in Nice, France.


After graduating in July 2016, she started her new position as the Lab Manager. Anne-Laure's research focuses on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Her first project is to derive multipotent skin cells to grow neuroglial precursors for the treatment of neuromuscular dysfunction. She is also designing and 3D-printing implantable surgical devices for intestinal lengthening.

In her free time, Anne-Laure likes to be close to the ocean, enjoys attending dance classes, and exploring San Francisco.


Abstracts and Presentations

Three-dimensionally printed surface features to anchor endoluminal spring for distraction enterogenesis

"Springs with bidirectional hooked surface features were anchored to the intestine for up to 4 weeks without migration. Bidirectional features printed on springs prevented the premature migration of endoluminal springs. These novel spring anchors allowed for their endoluminal placement without any sutures."

Spontaneous and Periodic Contractions of Murine and Human Intestinal Muscularis Cells

Mechanically induced development and maturation of human intestinal organoids in vivo

"... we show that the incorporation of uniaxial strain, using compressed nitinol springs, in human intestinal organoids transplanted into the mesentery of mice induces growth and maturation of the organoids."

Double Plication for Spring-Mediated in-Continuity Intestinal Lengthening in a Porcine Model

Dr. Dubrovsky presented research done with Dr. James Dunn at the 13th Annual Academic Surgical Congress

A Novel Culture System for Adult Porcine Intestinal Crypts

A new "method [was developed that maintains] juvenile and adult porcine crypt cells long-term in culture. Porcine enteroids and spheroids can be successfully passaged and transduced by using lentiviral vectors."

Intestinal Matrix Prevents Therapeutic Ultrasound from Causing Inertial Cavitation in Tumescent Subcutaneous Tissue

Dr. James Dunn collaborated with the University of California at Los Angeles's Physics Department to find that subcutaneous tisseu campens inertial cavitation. 

Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor eluting Microspheres Enhance Distraction Enterogenesis

"Sustained release bFGF microspheres enhanced distraction enterogenesis through improved vascularity. The synergy of growth factors such as bFGF with distraction enterogenesis may yield improved results for the future treatment of patients with short bowel syndrome."