Somatic stem cells are critical for the survival of any multicellular living organism from C. elegans to humans as they maintain tissue turnover throughout life. The fine balance between their self-renewal and the differentiation of their progeny is at the core of an organism’s homeostasis and is deregulated during disease and ageing. Understanding and harnessing the mechanisms regulating stem cell function holds invaluable promise to prevent and treat a vast number of diseases. Our research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular processes that regulate somatic stem cell function and in particular how extrinsic systemic and local signals guide stem cell fate.
We use the haematopoietic system as our experimental model because the turnover and molecular differentiation of its diverse cell lineages are well characterised. The group combines multiple, complementary expertises: advanced intravital microscopy, computational analysis, molecular profiling, in vivo assays and mathematical modelling. We endeavour to apply the acquired knowledge to develop interventions that will regulate the haematopoietic system and thus improve current therapies and prevent haematological and infectious disease.