Supervisor: Dr Cedric Ghevaert
Title: Generation of bipotent megakayocyte and erythroid progenitors from human induced pluripotent stem cells and applications to transfusion medicine
Abstract: Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) represent an exciting avenue for regenerative medicine, because under the right conditions these cells, in vitro, can produce almost any cell type of the human body. In the field of haematology, hiPSCs can be notably used to generate blood cells, which could one day be used for transfusion and eliminate the need for blood donors. Our lab uses a novel technique termed ‘forward programming’, overexpressing a number of key haematopoietic transcription factors to drive hiPSCs towards a bipotent progenitor (MEP), from which we can derive both megakaryocytes (MKs) and erythroid cells (RBCs). My project is currently focused on developing enhanced tools for forward programming, especially in generating a stable inducible hiPS cell line from which we can better control generation of MEPs. This will give me a platform to then look at the single cell level, at the molecular mechanisms driving progressive differentiation towards MEPs and further MK or RBC. This line will also help to move a step closer to clinical applications of hiPSCs in transfusion medicine.