Professor Susie Nilsson

 - Partner Investigator

Research focus:  Haemopoiesis and the changes and their effects in haemopoietic disease

Professor Susie Nilsson brings a unique repertoire of skills and knowledge to the Stem Cells Australia initiative in the area of in vivo murine models of haemopoiesis, haemopoietic stem cell (HSC) biology and the haemopoietic stem cell niche. Professor Nilsson has established a series of innovative approaches to investigate functional properties of HSC, particularly those related to their ability to reconstitute the haemopoietic system, post transplantation.

These approaches include techniques for assessing homing of limited numbers of highly purified populations of candidate HSC and tracking at the single cell level, as well as the location of transplanted cells following trans-endothelial migration into the bone marrow extravascular space. Moreover, Professor Nilsson has established robust techniques for the prospective isolation of HSC from discrete regions within the bone marrow.

Finally, and of particular relevance to projects within this Initiative, Professor Nilsson has established expertise with the transplantation of human haemopoietic stem and progenitor cells into the NOD/SCID/IL-2Rγ-/- mouse as a means of assessing the haemopoietic potential of candidate human HSC. Her specific role in this proposal is to address the hypothesis that: ES and/or iPSC derived haemopoietic cells with a putative HSC phenotype represent definitive HSC with complete in vivo haemopoietic function and potential. Specifically, in vitro analyses will asses the ability of these cells to migrate towards and adhere to key molecules known to be present in the HSC bone marrow niche. 

In addition, in vivo analysis will use her well established xenograft models, which will allow the evaluation of hES and iPS differentiated HSC and their comparison to their adult counterparts [cord blood (CB) and adult mobilised peripheral blood (PB) stem and progenitor cells] in functions such as homing to the bone marrow, lodgement within the bone marrow microenvironment and reconstitution of the haemopoietic system following transplantation. Collectively, these unique skills and insights into HSC function and biology are critical to the future use of these cells for human bone marrow transplantation.