You are here: Home People Xiaojun (Lance) Lian
Xiaojun (Lance) Lian

Xiaojun (Lance) Lian

Main Content

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Assistant Professor of Biology

The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

W342 Millennium Science Complex
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-8093


  1. Ph.D., Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012

Postdoc Training

  1. Harvard University, Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
  2. Karolinska Institutet, Cell and Molecular Biology

Honors and Awards

  1. • The 2017 Junior Investigator Award of Advanced Biomanufacturing from BMES
  2. • The 2016 Young Innovator of Biomedical Engineering Society and CMBE Journal
  3. • The Cozzarelli Prize of the National Academy of Science (the Best Biomedical Science Paper in PNAS in 2012)
  4. • Top Poster Prize of the Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Conference in 2012
  5. • Top Poster Prize & the best Poster Presentation of the SBE/ISSCR International Stem Cell Engineering Conference in 2012
  6. • Ronald A. Ragatz Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009
  7. • The Chu Kochen Scholarship, the highest academic award of Zhejiang University in 2006
  8. • The National Talimu Oil Field Scholarship for Outstanding Students in 2006
  9. • The Excellent Thesis Prize of Zhejiang University in 2006
  10. • The First Prize of Excellent Undergraduate Scholarship, Zhejiang University

Research Interests

Human Stem Cell Engineering Laboratory

Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), are a potentially inexhaustible supply of human cells because they can be propagated indefinitely while still retaining the capacity to differentiate into all somatic cell types. Hurdles facing utilization of hPSCs in regenerative medicine include a lack of reliable and efficient methods to differentiate hPSCs to diseases related cell lineages, including cardiac muscle cells and pancreatic beta cells.

The goal of the Lian lab is to apply developmental principles and pathways, genome editing techniques, stem cells and model systems to unravel human development and disease at the molecular and cellular level, as well as to develop therapies aimed to treat degenerative diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, we are also interested in stem cell derived T-cell immunotherapy for cancer treatment.

Selected Publications

Foo KS, Lehtinen ML, Leung CY, Lian X, Xu J, Keung W, Geng L, Kolstad TRS, Thams S, Wong AO, Wong N, Bylund K, Zhou C, He X, Jin SB, Clarke J, Lendahl U, Li RA, Louch WE, Chien KR. “Human ISL1+ Ventricular Progenitors Self-Assemble into an In Vivo Functional Heart Patch and Preserve Cardiac Function Post Infarction”, Molecular Therapy. (2018)  doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2018.02.012.


Lauren N. Randolph, Yuqian Jiang, Xiaojun Lian. Stem Cell Engineering and Differentiation for Disease Modeling and Cell-based Therapies, AIMS Cell and Tissue Engineering, (2017), 1(2): 140-157. doi: 10.3934/celltissue.2017.2.140.


Xiaoping Bao, Xiaojun Lian, Tongcheng Qian, Vijesh J. Bhute, Tianxiao Han, Sean P. Palecek. Directed differentiation and long-term maintenance of epicardial cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells under fully defined conditions, Nature Protocols (2017) Sep;12(9):1890-1900. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2017.080.


Xiaoping Bao, Vijesh J. Bhute, Tianxiao Han, Tongcheng Qian, Xiaojun Lian, Sean P. Palecek. Human pluripotent stem cell-derived epicardial progenitors can differentiate to endocardial-like endothelial cells, Bioengineering & Translational Medicine (2017)


Lauren Randolph, Xiaoping Bao, Chikai Zhou, Xiaojun Lian. An all-in-one, Tet-On 3G inducible PiggyBac system for human pluripotent stem cells and derivatives, Scientific Reports 7 (2017), Article number: 1549 doi:10.1038/s41598-017-01684-6


Bao X, Lian X, Hacker TA, Schmuck EG, Qian T, Bhute VJ, Han T, Shi M, Drowley L, Plowright A, Wang QD, Goumans MJ, Palecek SP. “Long-term self-renewing human epicardial cells generated from pluripotent stem cells under defined xeno-free conditions”, Nature Biomedical Engineering 1, 0003 (2016)    


Bao X, Lian X, Palecek SP. Directed Endothelial Progenitor Differentiation from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Via Wnt Activation Under Defined Conditions. Methods Mol Biol. 2016;1481:183-96. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6393-5_17.


Eike-Benjamin Braune, Yat Long Tsoi, Yee Peng Phoon, Sebastian Landor, Helena Silva Cascales, Daniel Ramsköld, Qiaolin Deng, Arne Lindqvist, Xiaojun Lian, Cecilia Sahlgren, Shao-Bo Jin, Urban Lendahl. Loss of CSL Unlocks a Hypoxic Response and Enhanced Tumor Growth Potential in Breast Cancer Cells. Stem Cell Reports. (2016). DOI:

Boon Seng Soh, Shi Yan Ng, Hao Wu, Kristina Buac, Joo-Hye Christine Park, Xiaojun Lian, Jiejia Xu, Kylie S Foo, Ulrika Felldin, Xiaobing He, Massimo Nichane, Henry Yang, Lei Bu, Ronald A Li, Bing Lim, Kenneth Chien. Endothelin-1 supports clonal derivation and expansion of cardiovascular progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells. Nature Communications. (2016) doi:10.1038/ncomms10774

Hsiao C, Lampe M, Nillasithanukroh S, Han W, Lian X, Palecek SP. Human pluripotent stem cell culture density modulates YAP signaling. Biotechnol J. (2016) doi: 10.1002/biot.201500374. 

Lian X, Bao X, Zilberter M, et al. “Chemically defined, albumin-free human cardiomyocyte generation”, Nature Methods 12, 595–596 (2015)

Lian X, Bao X, Al-Ahmad A, Liu J, Wu Y, Dong W, Dunn KK, Shusta EV, Palecek SP. “Efficient Differentiation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells to Endothelial Progenitors via Small-Molecule Activation of WNT Signaling”, Stem Cell Reports 3(5): 804–816 (2014)

Lian X, Zhang J, Azarin SM, Zhu K, Hazeltine LB, Bao X, Hsiao C, Kamp TJ, Palecek SP. “Directed cardiomyocyte differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells by modulating Wnt/beta-catenin signaling under fully defined conditions”, Nature Protocols 8: 162-175 (2013)

Lian X, Hsiao C, Wilson G, Zhu K, Hazeltine LB, Azarin SM, Raval KK, Zhang J, Kamp TJ, Palecek SP. “Robust cardiomyocyte differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells via temporal modulation of canonical Wnt signaling”, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109: E1848-1857 (2012)

Bao X*, Lian X*, et al. “Chemically-defined albumin-free differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells to endothelial progenitor cells”, Stem Cell Research, 15(1):122-129 (2015) *co-first author

Lian X, Xu J, Li J, Chien KR. “Next Generation Models of Human Cardiogenesis via Genome Editing”, Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a013920 (2014)

Hazeltine LB, Badur MG, Lian X, Das A, Han W, Palecek SP. “Temporal impact of substrate mechanics on differentiation of human embryonic stem cells to cardiomyocytes”, Acta Biomater 10: 604-612 (2014)

Lian X, Selekman J, Bao X, Hsiao C, Zhu K, Palecek SP. “A Small Molecule Inhibitor of Src Family Kinases Promotes Simple Epithelial Differentiation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells”, PLoS ONE 8(3): e60016 (2013)

Lian X, Zhang J, Zhu K, Kamp TJ, Palecek SP. “Insulin inhibits cardiac mesoderm, not mesendoderm, formation during cardiac differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells and modulation of canonical Wnt signaling can rescue this inhibition”, Stem Cells 31: 447-457 (2013)

Zhang J, Klos M, Wilson GF, Herman AM, Lian X, et al. “Extracellular matrix promotes highly efficient cardiac differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells: the matrix sandwich method”, Circ Res 111: 1125-1136 (2012)

Hazeltine LB, Simmons CS, Salick MR, Lian X, et al. “Effects of substrate mechanics on contractility of cardiomyocytes generated from human pluripotent stem cells”, Int J Cell Biol 2012: 508294 (2012)

Azarin SM, Lian X, Larson EA, Popelka HM, de Pablo JJ, Palecek SP. “Modulation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in human embryonic stem cells using a 3-D microwell array”, Biomaterials 33: 2041-2049 (2012)