Hematopoiesis and Leukemia

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Our research team studies the mechanisms that determine the generation and diversification of blood cells from a very small number of multipotent hematopoietic stem cells. The diversity of potentials of these cells is intrinsically determined by their expressing a complex network of transcription factors. We have observed that an intrinsic disruption of this network by some oncogenes causes differentiation arrest and induces leukemia.

How differentiation emerges and how the cells integrate signals from the environment to keep the hematopoietic system stable are questions of interest. One of the team’s discoveries has revealed that a gene called Stem Cell Leukemia (SCL) plays a critical role in blood cell formation. A disruption of normal regulatory processes causes ectopic SCL expression in the thymus and can result in leukemia.

Current investigation involves cellular studies of transgenic or knock-out mouse models, combined with functional proteomic and genomic approaches, as well as targeted molecular studies.

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