The use of haemopoietic stem cells (HSC) from blood or bone marrow represents one of only a few examples of the successful application of stem cells to regenerative medicine. However, the rarity of HSC in the body limits their more extensive application. 
Although pluripotent stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, may potentially provide an unlimited source of HSC to overcome this problem, the translational and therapeutic value of pluripotent stem cells is completely dependent on their reliable and efficient differentiation into specific cell

This program aims to answer key biological questions:

  1. Understand the molecular mechanisms controlling specification of haematopoietic stem cells during development.
  2. Determine the molecular interventions required to generate a new source of haematopoietic stem cells from either pluripotent cells or mature blood cells.
  3. Investigate whether mathematical models adequately define cell differentiation and transcriptional regulatory networks.
  4. Determine whether haematopoietic stem cells derived by cell reprogramming strategies exhibit identical functionality to their adult counterparts. 

This program aims to define the cell-intrinsic pathways and extrinsic parameters for the effective conversion of human pluripotent stem cells into select blood tissue lineages. The program will exploit gene-targeted markers, small molecule screens, bioengineering platforms and bioinformatics to deliver its research objectives. 

Led by Professor Andrew Elefanty and Dr Samir Taoudi, this research program includes leading stem cell scientists from WEHI, University of Queensland and MCRI.