Stem Cell Bioprocessing


The Stem Cell Bioprocessing Group is focused on developing scalable cell expansion technologies using a microcarrier platform to facilitate the goal of using stem cells for cell therapy. Traditional methods of producing anchorage dependent stem cells in flasks and trays are not scalable for commercial cell production. Therefore new methods of stem cell production in bioreactors are urgently needed.

To achieve the goal of producing stem cells in quantities required for therapeutic applications, we have developed expertise in suspension bioreactor cultures using a variety of microcarriers to expand stem cells (human embryonic, pluripotent, and mesenchymal stem cells) to densities 3 to 10 fold higher than conventional 2D cultures. We have experience in culturing these stem cells in serum free media and defined surfaces. High yields of cardiomyocytes, neural stem cells and osteoblasts have also been established on this platform.

Non-invasive bioprocess monitoring of pluripotent stem cells and cardiomyocytes are also being developed with SIMTech and I2R. In addition, we are developing biodegradable microcarriers together with collaborations at IMRE, with dual purposes for cell culture and implantation in vivo; and small molecules for differentiating stem cells to cardiomyocytes (with ICES), neural progenitors and osteocytes.

Furthermore we are working with clinical partners (NUHS and Hong Kong University) to deliver stem cells to animal models of heart, bone, and cartilage repair.



Alan Lam

Dr. Alan Lam
Staff Scientist

PhD in Biochemistry (2003), The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Research Focus/Interests

  • Scalable production of human embryonic stem cells, human induced pluripotent stem cells and human mesenchymal stem cells and its differentiated cells
  • Medium development for large-scale expansion of mesenchymal stem cells in bioreactors
Harish Handral

Dr. Harish Handral
Associate Staff Scientist

PhD in Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering (2017), National University of Singapore, Singapore

Research Focus/Interests

  • Developing novel microcarriers for scalability of human mesenchymal stem cells
  • Development of efficient serum-free and xeno-free media for cell isolation, propagation, and even differentiation.
  • To develop stem cell manufacturing assets in partnership with industries for stem cell separation, quality assays and scale-up bioprocessing
  • To deliver allogeneic stem cell manufacturing technologies for therapeutic applications.