The goal of my lab is to understand how external and internal signals are integrated by hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), translated into nuclear signals and formulate HSC decisions between self-renewal and differentiation. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are formed and actively proliferate during development to populate the adult hematopoietic organs, such as the bone marrow in mammals. In adulthood, HSCs are quiescent, but they can be activated by stress signals and start proliferating to replenish the system with newly differentiated cells. This regenerative process has many common features with HSC formation during development. Additionally, hematopoietic diseases and especially leukemia can also be linked to development of HSCs since many developmental pathways are reactivated in cancer. For this reason, our laboratory studies hematopoiesis both during development, stress-induced regeneration and disease, focusing on the molecular mechanisms shared between these systems. Currently, we are focusing on how transposable elements signal to innate immune sensors to instruct or affect HSC decisions. To achieve our goals, we use complementary model systems, including human primary hematopoietic cells, zebrafish and mouse and we integrate wet lab and bioinformatic approaches.
hematopoiesis, hematopoietic stem cells, transposable elements, innate immune signaling, regeneration, chemotherapy, development, leukemia