Assistant Professor of MCD Biology
B.A., Oberlin College
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison
Postdoctorate, Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute (Toronto, ON)
Where do stem cells come from? Understanding the origins of stem cells in the embryo is essential for understanding how to guide their development into therapeutically useful tissues. We examine stem cells from a variety of sources.
The embryo: Several distinct stem cell types can be derived from the early mouse embryo. Famous among these are embryonic stem (ES) cells, which have the potential to form all parts of the fetus, but not its extraembryonic tissues (e.g. placenta). Stem cell lines can also be derived from the extraembryonic lineages of the mouse, and these more specialized stem cell types can form extraembryonic, but not fetal tissues. Although these cell types differ in developmental potential, they exhibit common stem cell features. We are interested in the genes and mechanisms that establish these stem cell populations in the mouse embryo.
Reprogramming: ES-like cells can also be artificially produced from mature cell types by genetic reprogramming. This amazing process reverses development in a controlled manner, taking an adult cell to a primitive, embryonic state. We are interested in understanding how this process occurs and whether mature cells can be diverted to other developmental endpoints.
Our lab: Examining similarities and differences among a variety of stem cells types can teach us about normal development as well as stem cell biology. We use genetic/functional genomic, bioinformatic, and imaging techniques to understand the molecular basis of cell fate and plasticity, as they relate to normal development and regenerative medicine.
Please follow this link to find the lab's publications.