David Hess

David Hess


PH.D. University of Western Ontario
B.Sc. University of Western Ontario
Office:  Robarts Research Institute, 100 Perth Drive, London, ON N6A 5K8
p. 519.931.5777 x. 24118
f. 519.931.3789 
e. dhess@robarts.ca

Visit: Dr. Hess at Robarts Research Institute
See Publications by David Hess on PubMed

The focus of Dr. Hess’ research is to understand the mechanisms by which distinct stem cell subsets co-ordinate hematopoiesis, angiogenesis, and tissue repair. Ultimately, Dr. Hess is interested in the development of cellular therapies to mediate the repair of diseased, damaged, or ischemic tissues. Specific applications for his work include the use of transplanted human stem cells to promote wound healing and blood vessel formation, and to regenerate insulin-producing beta cells during diabetes.

In an attempt to isolate and study the regenerative functions of human bone marrow-derived stem cells, Dr. Hess' lab has purified multiple (hematopoitic, endothelial, and mesenchymal) stem cell lineages simultaneously using high-speed fluorescence activated cell sorting based on a conserved stem cell function (high aldehyde dehydrogenase activity) and cell surface markers. These progenitor cell lineages can be expanded efficiently in vitroand their regenerative functions are studied by the transplantation in immune deficient mouse models specifically designed to track the contributions of human cells during blood vessel formation during critical limb ischemia, and during the regeneration of islet function in hyperglycemic recipients

Research Focus

  • Hematopoietic repopulating function(s) of purified stem cells from various adult sources.
  • Transplantation of endothelial progenitor cells to promote angiogenesis in ischemic tissues.
  • Transplantation of purified stem cells to regenerate beta-cell function.
  • Investigating the mechanisms by which distinct stem cell subsets co-ordinate complex biological processes including hematopoiesis, angiogenesis, and tissue regeneration.
  • Isolation and transplantation of tumor-initiating stem cells.


Quail DF, Zhang G, Walsh LA, Putman DM, Dieters-Castador D, Hess DA, Postovit LM. Nodal inhibition impairs breast cancer growth and progression. (In press at PLOS ONE, September 26, 2012).

Noad J, Gonzalez-Lara LE, Broughton HC, McFadden C, Chen Y, Hess DA, Foster PJ.  MRI tracking of transplanted iron labeled multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells in an immune-compromised mouse model of critical limb ischemia. (In press at NMR in Biomedicine, September 29, 2012).

Putman DM, Liu KY, Broughton HC, Bell GI, Hess DA.  Umbilical cord blood-derived aldehyde dehydrogenase-expressing progenitor cells promote recovery from acute ischemic injury. (2012) Stem Cells 30(10):2248-2260.

Quail DF, Walsh LA, Zhang G, Findlay SD, Moreno J, Fung L, Ablack A, Lewis J, Done SJ,Hess DA, Postovit LM. Embryonic protein nodal promotes breast cancer vascularization. (2012) Cancer Research 72(15):3851-3863.        

Bell GI, Meschino MT, Hughes-Large JM, Broughton HC, Xenocostas A, Hess DA. Combinatorial human progenitor cell transplantation optimizes islet regeneration through secretion of paracrine factors. (2012) Stem Cells and Development 21(11):1863-1876.        

Bell GI, Putman DM, Hughes-Large JM, Hess DA. Intra-pancreatic delivery of human umbilical cord blood aldehyde dehydrogenase-producing cells promotes islet regeneration. (2012) Diabetologia 55(6):1755-1760.

Hess DA, Hegele RA. Linking diabetes with oxidative stress, adipokines and impaired endothelial precursor cell function. (2012) Canadian Journal of Cardiology May 8, 2012 Epub ahead of print.      

Bell GI, Broughton HC, Levac KD, Allan DC, Xenocostas A, Hess DA. Transplanted human bone marrow progenitor subtypes stimulate endogenous islet regeneration and revascularization. (2011) Stem Cells and Development 21(1):97-109.  

Sondergaard CS, Hess DA, Maxwell DJ, Weinheimer C, Rosová I, Creer MH, Piwnica-Worms D, Kovacs A, Pedersen L, Nolta JA. Human cord blood progenitors with high aldehyde dehydrogenase activity improve vascular density in a model of acute myocardial infarction.(2010) Journal of Translational Medicine 8:24-32.

Capoccia BJ, Robson DL, Levac KD, Maxwell DJ, Hohm SA, Neelamkavil M, Bell GI, Xenocostas A, Link DC, Piwnica-Worms D, Nolta JA, Hess DA. Revascularization of ischemic limbs after transplantation of human bone marrow cells with aldehyde dehydrogenase activity. (2009) Blood 113(21): 5340-5351.     

Croker AK, Goodale D, Chu J, Postenka CO, Hedley BD, Hess DA, Allan AL. High aldehyde dehydrogenase and expression of cancer stem cell markers selects for breast cancer cells with enhanced malignant and metastatic ability. (2009) Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 13(8B): 2236-2252.

Zhou P, Hohm SA, Olusanya Y, Hess DA, Nolta JA. Human progenitor cells with high aldehyde dehydrogenase activity efficiently engraft into damaged liver in a novel model. (2009) Hepatology 49(6):1992-2000.