Pluripotent stem cells that have the unique ability to form all of the cell types of the adult body can be derived in two different ways: by the explantation of early mammalian embryos, giving rise to embryonic stem (ES) cells, and by the enforced expression of defined embryonic transcription factors in adult somatic cells, giving rise to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
The latter process, referred to as reprogramming, allows for the generation of patient-specific pluripotent stem cells to study—and potentially treat—degenerative disorders. In addition, iPS cell technology represents a tractable experimental approach to studying mammalian development.
Research in my laboratory uses reprogramming technology to identify mechanisms that control gene expression and determine cellular identity, using the mouse as the main model organism.
One major focus of our research is determining the causes of epigenetic abnormalities that are frequently introduced in specific genomic regions during iPS cell formation. These abnormalities limit the developmental potential of iPS cells, and by studying them we hope to understand the molecular requirements for faithful epigenetic reprogramming.
A second major goal of our research is to use pluripotent cells for the in vitro generation of adult-type stem cells that are functionally equivalent to their in vivo counterparts. We are especially interested in understanding the molecular determinants of blood cell specification and, ultimately, generating functional hematopoietic stem cells from ES cells and iPS cells.
Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology
PhD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine
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