Stem cell states and characteristics: furthering research into model systems

24 October 2017

Associate Professor Jose Polo and his team identified that naïve human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) obtained in different conditions display a spectrum of characteristics, furthering our understanding of the use of stem cells as a model system. The findings led by PhD student Ethan Liu and senior Postdoc Christian Nefzger were published in the prestigious 'Nature Methods' scientific journal.

Associate Professor Polo is the Group Leader of the Polo Group at the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) and The Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) at Monash University.

The Polo Group is interested in the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms that govern cell identity and cell fate. It has a focus on pluripotency and the reprogramming of somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and other mature cell types.

Being able to specifically reprogram a mature cellular program into a pluripotent state, and back into another mature cellular program, provides a unique tool to understand the molecular and cellular events that enable conversion of one cell type into another. Through the systematic characterization of genetically matched naive-like cells generated using different culture conditions, the different cell states are revealed with distinct functional and molecular features. Ultimately, this study will facilitate the establishment of conditions that allow the generation of cells that fully resemble human pluripotent cells of the early embryo, which may serve as a model system for mechanistic and clinical studies.  

Ph.D student Ethan Liu, has been selected to talk about these discoveries in the upcoming International Society for Stem Cell Research 2017 meeting in Guangzhou, China.

This research paper was possible through the scientific interaction of different Stem Cells Australia’ s research groups.

Associate Professor Jose Polo is a Chief Investigator at Stem Cells Australia.

Professor Susie Nilsson, Associate Professor Andrew Laslett and Professor Ryan Lister are Affiliate Investigators at Stem Cells Australia.

For more information:
Read the abstract on Nature Methods