Our lab studies how the cells of the immune system are formed from blood stem cells.
Stem and progenitor cells make ‘decisions’ in order to generate our various tissues and organs. Without these decisions, we would be undifferentiated blobs without eyes and ears, livers and hearts, skin and bone.
To discover the steps of how a stem cell divides and ultimately turns into an organ, we utilise new technologies that interrogate the individual cells, rather than the population as a whole. This is akin to understanding the role of each player in a football team – not only the team’s result. Our ultimate goal is to advance strategies for manipulating blood stem cells that may have future applications for stem cell therapy or immune therapy, and provide insights into cancer formation.
Our laboratory takes a single cell systems biology approach to studying how haematopoietic stem cells ultimately generate all of the red and white blood cells of the immune system.
We are a very technology-driven lab with the philosophy that studying single cells at different functional and molecular levels, and integrating this information, will reveal the mechanisms behind their fate specification in health and disease. To this purpose, we perform single cell analysis in vivo using:
- Cellular barcoding
- Cell division tracking in vitro using long-term imaging for family tree construction
- Single cell RNA-sequencing for lineage priming program identification.
Combined, we anticipate this suite of tools will allow us to gain a high-resolution understanding into the principles and molecular mechanism governing development and the establishment of lineage fate in normal and cancerous tissues, with view to therapeutic interventions.