Faster Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Cultured Meat

Schlesinger Sharon, HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Animal Sciences




Cultured Meat, Protocols Cell D

Current development stage

General list: TRL3 Experimental proof of concept


Collaboration Opportunity

Sponsored Research with an option to License Research Results


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitor cells, which can easily be extracted from many tissues. MSCs are considered a promising source cell for the Cultured Meat (CM) Industry. They pose the ability of multi-lineage differentiation, are cost efficient to culture and easy to produce.  However due to the limited self-renewal and slow differentiation of MSCs, currently it is a challenge to scale up a deliverable product. By optimizing MSC culturing and differentiation, we can scale up and drastically cut cost. One of the obstacles to culturing MSCs to whole cut meat is achieving the fine tuning of tissue combination that determines texture, taste, and size.

In the Schlesinger lab we aim to improve bovine MSCs culturing effectiveness and optimize differentiation protocols toward fat and muscle cell fats. We are currently working on several routes, which are summarized in the following figure:

Our Innovation
We are examining the best source for highly proliferative MSCs (bio-banking). We modify the medium composition and growth conditions to delay cellular aging and enhance stem cell proliferation, by using natural substances added to the growth media. Preliminary data from the lab suggests that we can differentiate bovine MSC toward fat and muscle, and that preconditioned cells differentiate faster and more efficiently to mature fat or muscle cells, depending on the exact preconditioning protocol used.

Our studies will be used to enhance the cultured meat production method, by:

  • Increasing yields
  • Shortening the differentiation time
  • Improving meat quality
  • Increasing the differentiation efficiency

Figure 1: Induced MSC growth and differentiation. A. expression of early and late myogenic genes after 10 and 20 days of myogenic differentiation in two alternative protocols (P1 and P2). B. Fluorescent microscope representative picture of P1, 20d shows cell fusion and fiber formation. DAPI was used for nuclear staining.  C. MSC differentiation to adipocytes is enhanced by XX pretreatment. Bodipy staining (green) for lipid droplets shown in fluorescent microscopic imaging. DAPI (blue) was used for nuclear staining. D. Flow cytometry of bodipy staining. E. MSC was pre-induced by the XX protocol, and RNA was isolated from MSC at day 0, 6 and 14 after differentiation onset. The expression of PPARg and FABP4 adipogenic genes, and FOXO3 as negative control, was examined by RT-qPCR. F. our RNA-Seq results predict the MSC preconditioned by XX protocol upregulate specific lineage differentiation networks. Our validation shown above support this model.

Researcher is looking for an industry partner to sponsor research to continue these studies with the intention of cutting half the time necessary to reach mature cultured meat cells, reducing significant costs to the industry.


Contact for more information:

Ilya Pittel
Contact ME: