Hematopoiesis, the process by which all blood cells are formed, is a tightly regulated process that is disrupted in a number of blood diseases, including leukemias. The main interest of our laboratory is to define the mechanisms that regulate normal and leukemic hematopoiesis. Current projects include the following:
1. Regulation of normal and malignant hematopoietic stem cells by the bone marrow microenvironment (stem cell niche)
Studies are underway to characterize how normal (and leukemic) stem cells interact with stromal cells in the bone marrow to regulate their function. In particular, we are characterizing the mechanisms by which G-CSF alters the bone marrow microenvironment and leads to the mobilization of stem cells from the bone marrow to blood.
2. Molecular pathogenesis of therapy-related AML
Leukemia that arises following chemotherapy for a primary cancer is termed, therapy-related AML. We are using genomic approaches to identify genetic and epigenetic changes that contribute to this type of leukemia.
3. Characterization of the role of small non-coding RNAs in leukemia
Small non-coding RNAs include microRNAs, snoRNAs, piwiRNAs and others. There is emerging data suggesting that small non-coding RNAs may play an important role in the pathogenesis of human cancer. We are using genomic approaches and animal models to explore the role of certain dysregulated or mutated small non-coding RNAs in leukemia.