Research Focus

Our long-term objectives are to understand the genetic pathways that control human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and to determine how changes in these programs lead to generating leukemic stem cells (LSC). By identifying the target pathways involved in these changes, we will be able to contribute to the development of targeted therapeutics.

We have developed a novel NOD/SCID xenotransplant assays for human HSCs and primitive progenitors (Nature 1994) and methods for modelling initiation and progression of leukemia through genetic manipulation (Science 2007) that have provided insight into human hematopoiesis and leukemia development. Using these systems we have been able to interrogate the genetics of leukemia and we have discovered that genetic diversity occurs in functionally defined leukaemia-initiating cells and that many diagnostic patient samples contain multiple genetically distinct leukaemia-initiating cell subclones (Nature 2011).