Associate Professor Andrew Laslett

 - Affiliate Investigator

Research focus: Human pluripotent stem cell biology research 

A/Prof Andrew Laslett brings a well established expertise in the detailed characterisation of pluripotent stem cells to the Stem Cells Australia initiative. His research group has developed a FACS-based immunotranscriptional profiling system for identifying and isolating hESC that express high levels of the cell surface antigens CD9 and GCTM-2 and they have demonstrated that these cells represent a highly enriched population of hESC.

This work has used multiple hESC lines and culture conditions (serum based, serum replacement, defined base media products, fibroblast feeder cells and basement membrane extract) and combines immunotranscriptional and membrane polysome translation state analysis. These studies, undertaken in collaboration with researchers at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (Brisbane), identified a refined genetic signature for hESC and have since been extended using multiple iPS cell lines. 

The immunotranscriptional profiling also provides a detailed understanding of the earliest events in pluripotent stem cell differentiation and has enabled the identification of target genes that switch off very rapidly as differentiation commences. A/Prof Laslett is currently utilising these methodologies and information to produce and characterise new antibodies to novel cell surface markers for pluripotent cells that will facilitate the enrichment of these cells for use in differentiation assays and for the selection against undesirable cell types, a project we are undertaking with Jeanne Loring’s research group at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. Further, A/Prof Laslett is using this information to design and create reporter hES cell lines that switch off more rapidly than OCT4 or NANOG, currently the best known nuclear markers for pluripotency, for use in bioreactor studies. 

A/Prof Laslett will also bring to this Initiative recently published experience in generating putative renal progenitor cells from hESC cell cultures to this project as well as experience in generating novel iPS cell lines.