Stem Cell Biology: Research Areas

Researchers in the Perlmutter Cancer Center Stem Cell Biology Program focus on the molecular and cellular principles governing stem cell biology, aiming to:

  1. Identify genetic networks that define cancer stem cells and apply this knowledge to predict tumor aggressiveness and tumor behavior during therapy
  2. Determine how stem cells are selected and maintained, and how stem cell migration during normal development can be misregulated during tumorigenesis
  3. Understand the triggers that regulate inter-conversion between cell lineages and apply this knowledge to tissue engineering
  4. Develop screening technologies that facilitate the design of novel therapies that specifically target cancer stem cells

With these goals, our investigators are exploring the following areas of research related to different types of stem cells:

Hematopoietic Stem Cells

  • Role of the transcription factor TBLR1 in hematopoiesis
  • Molecular mechanisms of hematopoietic stem cell regulation and lymphocyte progenitor differentiation and transformation
  • Myeloma stem cells
  • Biological pathways that lead to acute lymphocytic leukemia relapse
  • Autologous peripheral blood stem cells to support chemotherapy in patients with pediatric malignant brain tumors

Neuronal Stem Cells

  • Adult neural stem cells
  • Neuronal subtype differentiation of embryonic stem cells

Cardiac Stem Cells

  • Molecular mechanisms that specify cardiac chamber-specific progenitor populations

Prostate Stem Cells

  • Enriched in proximal region of mouse prostatic ducts 
  • Histone lysine methylation

Breast Cancer Stem Cells

  • Alveolar developmental pathways and tumor formation

Germline Biology

  • Germline stem cell development in Drosophila and C. elegans

Epigenetic Mechanisms

  • Structural aspects of the epigenetic code