Blood contains many different cell types, all of which originate from haematopoietic stem cells. The different research groups in the Section of Experimental Haematology consist of basic and clinician scientists whose research efforts concentrate on molecular events controlling decisions for cell lineage commitment and cell differentiation during normal blood cell development. This is complemented by studies on the deregulation of these events in cancers of the blood cell system (leukaemias and lymphomas) which are conducted as collaborations between basic and clinical scientists.
A major emphasis of the Section is the identification of genes driving blood cell differentiation and studies of how these genes are regulated at the molecular level. We conduct experiments aimed at elucidating which protein factors and signalling molecules are involved in these processes and how they interact with each other. To this end, we use a range of scientific methodologies. This includes the establishment of in vitro systems allowing the differentiation of specific blood cell lineages and the experimental manipulation of the resulting cell populations. These systems are utilised for our studies of chromatin structure, signalling processes, and functions of genes important for both blood cell development and responses to environmental cues. We have also developed high-throughput approaches which facilitate the examination of molecular events occurring during the phases of development when cell fate decisions are made. Our studies are not only aimed at a better understanding how blood cell development occurs, but our experimental systems also provide a platform with which new therapeutic reagents can be developed and tested.