Currently, nerve related issues are researched and tested on animals. “Animal nerve cells do not work exactly like human cells and thus are not 100 % comparable. It is much more accurate and reliable when we use human nerve cells”, Meeri reminds. Here, at the Human Spare Parts project, we can grow nerve cells from human stem cells in our laboratory. At the same time we are able to monitor how the nerves network with each other and get more information on different diseases. Our goal is to build a comprehensive MS disease model to understand the disease better and develop treatments. Not only do we get more reliable information on brain related diseases, but we also decrease the need for animal testing.
The general aims of the division of Experimental Hematology are to obtain detailed knowledge on (molecular) mechanisms that determine hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal and differentiation, with the ultimate goal to deepen our insights in the development of human leukemias. We perform gene-function analyses in human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells isolated from cordblood and bone marrow utilizing various strategies including optimized retro/lentiviral transduction protocols and inducible RNAi approaches. We have a longstanding expertise in using molecular approaches to further understand processes such as hematopoietic differentiation, proliferation, apoptosis and self-renewal. We utilize a series of cell biological in vitro and in vivo model systems to be able to translate knowledge from our molecular research lines to more general concepts of hematopoietic stem cell biology. Furthermore, we have banked large series of leukemic patient material and are currently focusing on elucidating whether leukemic stem cells exist, what their phenotype is, which mechanisms result in enhanced self-renewal and a disturbed differentiation profile, and whether we can restore the normal hematopoietic differentiation program by e.g. interfering at the genetic level or by utilizing novel therapeutical agents. We anticipate that our studies will lead to a more rational approach in the clinic of this highly malignant disorder.
Sarah Horton published her paper in showing that fetal stem/progenitor cells readily transform along the myeloid of lymphoid lineage, depending on extrinsic cues, while adult human stem/progenitor cells can only be transformed along the myeloid lineage, in line whith what is seen in patients.
Bart Jan Wierenga published his paper in in which he studied hypoxia-induced transcriptome changes in human stem/progenitor cells and identified that TGFb and hypoxia pathways converge on cell cycle regulation.
Marta Capala published a paper in showing that Engulfment and Motility protein 1 (ELMO1) is upregulated in AML CD34+ stem/progenitor cells which predicts poor prognosis in normal karyotype AML.
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Marta Capala published a paper in showing that RAC2 fulfils an essential role in BCR-ABL transformed cells. Time-lapse confocal microscopy surprisingly revealed very distinct localisation of RAC1 and RAC2 in human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Proteome studies to identify RAC1 and RAC2 interactomes revealed that RAC2 interacts with a set of mitochondrial proteins including mitochondrial transport proteins SAM50 and Metaxin 1. Downregulation of RAC2 or SAM50 impaired self-renewal associated with a decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and impaired mitochondrial integrity as determined by EM.
Naman published some research papers in IEEE Journal and Conferences, on the topic of Performance Evaluation of FSO (Free Space Optical) communication systems.