Dr Cristina Lo Celso (Laboratory Head)
I studied at Turin University and moved to London for my PhD training with Fiona Watt (Cancer Research UK) in the field of epidermal stem cell biology. Having graduated through University College London in 2005, I undertook postdoctoral training at Harvard University with David Scadden. There, I developed intravital microscopy of the haematopoietic stem cell niche. In 2009 I was appointed as a lecturer (assistant professor) in the Depatment of Life Sciences of Imperial College London, where I have been working since.
My research aims to understand the mechanisms regulating haematopoietic stem cell function during steady state and in the presence of stress, such as infections and leukaemia development. I use an interdisciplinary approach that combines continuous development of mouse bone marrow intravital microscopy techniques, computational analysis of the images obtained, molecular profiling and manipulation of haematopoietic and niche cells and mathematical modeling of the HSC niche.
Current Group Members
Delfim Duarte, MD (PhD sTUDENT)
I graduated in Medicine from the University of Porto, Portugal in 2012. As an undergrad, I participated in projects looking at angiogenesis and inflammation and completed a Master’s on cell microparticles, under Raquel Soares supervision. In 2011, I was selected by the Harvard Medical School–Portugal programme for a small internship at Tom Kirchhausen’s lab, where I studied dynamin in clathrin-mediated endocytosis. In 2014, I entered in the specialty training of Haematology, which I interrupted to pursue a PhD through GABBA (gabba.up.pt).
In October 2014, I moved to Imperial College London to start a PhD project under Cristina Lo Celso’s supervision. I’m interested in intravital imaging and understanding the role of the bone marrow microenvironment in leukaemia development. I love to travel and am a great fan of art, history and gastronomy.
Myriam Haltalli (PhD student)
After having graduated with a degree in Genetics from Queen Mary University, I joined Imperial for a masters in Biomedical Research, where I developed an interest in Infection and Immunology through my research projects. This led me to apply for and gain a place on the Wellcome Trust Molecular and Cellular Basis of Infection programme where I had the opportunity to spend some time with different research groups working on topics ranging from the neonatal immune response to Influenza and investigating the epigenetic regulation of HTLV-1.
I eventually joined the Bone Marrow Dynamics group, in October 2015, to start my PhD project supervised by Cristina Lo Celso and Andrew Blagborough. I am interested in understanding the role of the bone marrow microenvironment in the response of haematopoietic stem cells to malaria infection using a variety of techniques including intravital imaging. When I am not stuck in the lab, I enjoy travelling.
CHIARA PIRILLO (PHD STUDENT)
I received my BSc and MSc from the University of Pisa, Italy, in Molecular Biology and Biology applied to Biomedical Sciences, respectively. For my MSc thesis, I have spent one year at King’s College of London where I focused on Neural Stem Cells and Brain Tumours using Drosophila Melanogaster as model organism. This experience allowed me to discover my deep passion for stem cells and is one of the main reasons that has led me to the choice of working in this field.
In October 2016, I joined the Lo Celso group to start my PhD project, which is funded by Bloodwise. I am interested in understanding the interaction between invading leukaemia, declining healthy haematopoietic cells and remodelled stroma cells in the bone marrow using a range of techniques including intravital imaging. In my free time I like to travel and discover new places and relevant cultures.
Dr Constandina Pospori (Post Doctoral Researcher)
I studied medicine and obtained my PhD in Tumour Immunology in 2013, as a UCL MBPhD student. In my PhD, with Prof. Emma Morris and Prof. Hans Stauss, I investigated the phenotype and function of T cells specific for the tumour-associated antigen WT1 and showed for the first time that T cell specificity for a tumour-associated, self-antigen mediated the spontaneous generation of functionally competent, memory phenotype T cells rather than tolerance. I moved from UCL to Imperial College and entered the world of stem cells , where I studied the recruitment of endogenous progenitor cells with pro-angiogenic potential towards the site of bioengineered transplants with Prof. Sara Rankin.
In 2016, I joined the Lo Celso group to investigate the dynamic interactions between T cells, Leukaemia and Haematopoietic Stem cells throughout the course of disease as well as in the presence of T cell Immunotherapy. My project is funded by Bloodwise. Being a big fan of science, I love sharing my enthusiasm for it and communicating my work with the public and I have taken part in the Imperial Fringe, the Imperial Festival and the Science Museum Lates. With the not-so-secret hope that my little ones will choose to study science when they grow up, I have also enjoyed school visits to talk to a class of 5year olds about DNA and I have been amazed by their inquisitive minds!
Nicola Ruivo (research technician & lAB MANAGER)
I studied at Stellenbosch University in South Africa where I received my B.Sc in Human Life Sciences. I then went on to do an M.Sc in Molecular Biology & Genetics where I developed molecular tools to find quantitative trait loci in commercially reared abalone. I relocated to the UK in 2008 and joined Imperial College London in 2009 in the Centre for Molecular Biology and Infection (CMBI) where I was fortunate enough to work in two infection groups over 2.5 years as a Research Technician. This enabled me to develop my technical laboratory skills and gain a greater understanding in host-pathogen interactions. I joined Dr Lo Celso’s lab in 2011 and have since furthered myself as a researcher by gaining insight into haematopoietic cell biology. I also have the role of lab manager which helps keep the lab running smoothly and the whole team working efficiently. It should also be noted I’m a great cook and an excellent baker.
Emanuel - Visiting student
My name is Ben, more info soon to come!
If you are interested in joining the group as a PhD student or posdtoctoral researcher please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We do not have open positions at the moment, but you may be eligible for support to apply for your own funding.
Past Group Members
Dr Edwin Hawkins (Postdoctoral fellow, now group leader at WEHI, Melbourne)
I originally studied for my BSc at Otago University in New Zealand before moving to the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia for my honours degree. I relocated to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institue to conduct my PhD studies developing quantitative models and using miroscopy to study single cell lymphocyte behaviour. After my PhD, I obtained an NHMRC Early career fellowship to study molecular mechanisms that regulate cell fate decisions in protective and malignant lymphocyte populations. I moved to Dr Lo Celso's laboratory to study how the fate of single cells is regulated by interactions with the microenvironment. My work is currently funded by a European Haematology Association (EHA) Young Investigator Fellowship a project grant from Leukemia and Lymphoma Research (UK).
Dr Narges Rashidi (Postdoc, now at Ragon Institute, Boston MA)
Narges worked with Dr Gregor Adams at University of Southern California, where she obtained her PhD. After a couple of years working on the effect of T.spirali infection on HSC-niche interactions, she moved to Boston Massachusetts, where she has worked first at the Ragon Institute of MGH, Harvard and MIT and now at Fluidigm.
Letizia Vainieri (PhD Student)
I received my M.S. in Medical Molecular andCell ular Biotechnology in October 2012 at “La Sapienza” University of Rome. Here, I worked in Prof. Bianco’s lab studying the isolation and biological characterization of mesenchymal stem cells in human bone marrow for the purposes of bone tissue engineering. I was so interested in studying the mechanisms that regulate stem cells that I obtained two scholarships and in September 2013 I started an internship at Imperial College London in Lo Celso’s lab to study how haematopoietic stem cells are affected during malaria infection. I am going to be supported by ERC Fellowship in order to continue and start myPhD studying the mechanisms used by living organisms to cope with the infections.
Mark split his time between the Lo Celso group and the Imperial College Facility for Imaging by Light Microscopy (FILM). He implemented intravital microscopy of mouse bone marrow at Imperial and pioneered longitudinal studies of HSC niche interactions. Mark now works as the intravital imaging specialist in the Centre for Dynamic Imaging at WEHI, Melbourne.
Dr Folake Akinduro (Post Doctoral Researcher)
I am Folake, nicknamed Frank by Edwin. I was a postdoc in the lab, looking at the effects of leukaemia and healthy haematopoiesis. Now I am a scientific writer.
DR HEATHER ANG (POST DOCTORAL RESEARCHER)
Hi! I was looking for molecular signatures that contribute to the behavioural differences we see in haematopoietic stem cells in the niche but now I moved to a different lab at Imperial.
SARA MARQUES (PROJECT MANAGER)
I did a phd in cardiac development at NYU and worked as a research associate on malaria transmission for 6 years at Imperial College. After years of wet research, I am now in a unique position to support scientists. Currently I am a project manager here and one of my duties is to help maintain this webpage!
DR REEMA KHORSHED (POST DOCTORAL RESEARCHER)
I graduated in software engineering (B.Eng) with a first class degree in 2007 at the University of Bradford, UK. I then completed my masters in informatics by research and PhD in biological image analysis at the same university. During my PhD I investigated and developed a cell level automated approach for quantifying antibody staining in immunohistochemistry images. This allowed me to employ my computational skills into producing biological solutions by bridging computing, microscopy and biology together. In 2013 I joined Dr LoCelso group at Imperial College London, where I had the opportunity to employ my image analysis expertise to designing and developing advance image analysis tools for the automated quantification of large 3D in vivo imaging data. I then became increasingly fascinated by the interaction of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the bone marrow microenvironment and their relation to their complex niches. Therefore, I had undergone extensive training at the LoCelso lab on cutting edge intravital microscopy approaches and murine experimental models to study the interaction of haematopoietic and their relation to their complex niches in three dimensions and in real time. This has widened my expertise and gave me the opportunity to integrate all these skills collectively to investigating novel biological findings in the stem cell biology field as well as developing state of the art customized image analysis and quantitative tools.
DIMITRIS STAMPOULIS (RESEARCH TECHNICIAN - MATERNITY COVER)
Dimitris studied in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece where he received my B.Sc in Biology and then relocated to the UK in 2011 to do an M.Sc in Biotechnology. After 10 months of volunteering work as a Research Assistant at St. George's University London he first joined Imperial College London in 2013 in the Centre for Infection Prevention and Management (CIPM) and worked as a Research Techncian for 1 year studying co-infection and co-carriage of norovirus and clostridium difficile. In 2014, he joined Stephen Moss' group at the Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London and worked for almost two years investigating the role of the alternative pathway of the Complement System in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. He was a member of Dr Lo Celso's lab for 6 months but then got a 4 year PhD studentship from Complement UK and he is now doing his PhD at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.
Alba Rodriguez Meira (Mres Student)
I studied Biotechnology at the University of Salamanca, Spain, and moved to London to join the Master Research in Cancer Biology at Imperial College London. Since the very beginning of my research career I have always shown a particular interest about this disease, firstly working in the Cancer Research Centre (Salamanca, Spain) and then at the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College. I joined Cristina Lo Celso’s Group for the first rotation of my MRes course, focusing on the cellular and molecular crosstalk between leukemic cells and the bone marrow niche. This rotation has been a great opportunity for learning powerful imaging techniques that will be for sure extremely valuable for my future research. Next year I will continue my career doing a PhD and further developing my passion about cancer biology at the University of Oxford.
I did my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Imperial and am now doing my MRes in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences. I have done two of my rotations in this lab. In my first project I used photoconvertible fluorescent proteins in vitro and learnt a lot about confocal microscopy. In my current project I’m lookin g at the effect of TNFα on cultured haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and am learning a lot about flow cytometry. For this project I have the great help of Rachel the undergrad in the lab! Next year I will be starting my PhD at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford. For my PhD I plan on characterising self-renewal in haematopoietic stem cells. My projects in Cristina’s lab have interested me in haematopoietic stem cells and hopefully I’ll continue with this in the future!
THOMAS WILLIAMS (MRES STUDENT)
I recently completed a BSc in Pharmacology, during which I developed a keen interest in immunology and cancer –related inflammation. I am delighted to have joined the Lo Celso lab as a Master’s student and am currently investigating the complex interaction between T lymphocytes and leukemic cells in vivo, with the aim of understanding how cancers escape immune surveillance. I hope to continue working on pressing scientific questions, with the aim to develop and improve therapies for patients.
I’m working in Cristina’s lab for the final rotation in my MRes course. My project attempts to deconstruct the haemopoeitic stem cell niche in leukaemic conditions. To do this I am looking at the interaction of macrophages derived from the bone marrow with a mouse model of acute myeloid leukaemia. Outside of the lab I am still an active member of a few student societies, most notably the rock and heavy metal society, where I was president in my last two undergraduate years and co-hosted their radio show on ICRadio this year.
Laura Mosteo Lopez
I am a student of the MRes in Cancer Biology at Imperial College London, currently developing my master’s project at Cristina Lo Celso’s lab. My research focuses on the study of the interactions between leukemic cells and bone marrow stromal cells using an in vitro approach.
Rui (Rachel) Wong
An Imperial College Biochemist of Class 2014. I am cur rently doing a UROP placement in Cristina's lab involving the sorting of lineage negative cells using FACs alongside Zahra. I am so thankful for this opportunity. Everyone in the lab has been so friendly and helpful! I have learnt so much during this short placement. I will be continuing my education with an MRes (Stem Cells and Developmental Biology) at UCL in September. I am highly interested in the field of Regenerative Medicine and am keen to learn more about how we can use stem cells to culture the growth organs in a dish. Editors Note: Rachel is officially Zahra's lucky charm for all experiments!
I am doing an MRes in Molecular and Cellular Bioscience and my interest in cancer biology has brought me to the Lo Celso group for my 2nd lab rotation. I am researching acute myeloid leukaemia and novel ways to disrupt the leukaemia-bone marrow interactions to tackle chemoresistance to chemotherapy drugs. My interest in cancer biology started during my BSc in Biomedical Science and evolved into many projects I have been involved in, including cancer clinical trials in melanoma, breast cancer research and now leukaemia. I hope to take my passion for the field into a PhD, soon after I finish my MRes. When I’m not studying I love cooking! My specialty is Portuguese Fish Stew and Moroccan lamb tagine! I absolutely love the Mediterranean, the warmth, the sun, the beaches but especially the food.’
I am currently doing my Research Masters in Cancer Biology at Imperial College and recently I joined Dr Lo Celso’s group for my second research project. I am very excited to spend the next few months working on the immune response to leukaemia.
JamES CHE, IVAN CROYDON VELESLAVOV AND ROSIE WOODRUFF
James, Ivan and Rosie are the third year undergraduate students working with us for their final dissertation, on a mixture of wet and dry projects
I finished my BSc in Biochemistry in Imperial College, before moving on to do an MRes in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences. I am doing my third rotation in Cristina Lo Celso’s lab, focusing on identifying suspected epigenetic differences between leukemic and wild-type progenitor cell populations. I hope to continue working in the field, especially after a great experience in the lab!
EMILY WHETTLOCK I am working in Dr Lo Celso’s group for my third rotation of my MRes in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, developing new and improved fluorescence reporters for in vivo microscopy. I have a job as a Research Assistant in an autoimmunity lab starting in September and hope to return to cancer biology for a PhD the following year. Outside the lab I’m a member of three book clubs and enjoy cooking/baking.