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Meet Elaine Dzierzak, Ph.D., ISEH president-elect and 2012 Scientific Program Committee chair.

Posted By ISEH Headquarters, Saturday, January 21, 2012

ISEH President-Elect Values Society Collaboration

Elaine Dzierzak, Ph.D.
Erasmus Medical Center
Erasmus Stem Cell Institute
Rotterdam, Netherlands

ISEH President-Elect Elaine Dzierzak, Ph.D., is professor of developmental biology in the department of Cell Biology at Erasmus University  and director of the Erasmus Medical Center Stem Cell Institute. As noted in the Annual Scientific Meeting article above, she is also chair of the 2012 Scientific Program Committee tasked with delivering this important meeting.

Not a problem for a woman whose career track has taken her to several countries and numerous prestigious institutions working within various disciplines.

"I initially started my research career as an immunologist,” Dzierzak explains. "My Ph.D. work at Yale University (New Haven, CT, USA) was on immunoglobulin specificity and idiotypes. These studies introduced me to mouse genetics. From there, I went on to do research on retroviral mediated gene delivery at the Whitehead Institute (Cambridge, MA, USA). By using in vivo mouse models of hematopoiesis, I found that the difficulty in most therapeutic approaches to hematopoietic disease is in the manipulation and expansion of hematopoietic stem cells. This gave me the idea of looking towards developmental processes to establish how hematopoietic stem cells are made in the embryo.”

Dzierzak was the first to demonstrate the expression of a retrovially transduced therapeutic gene in hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) after bone marrow stem cell transplantation. After moving to the National Institute for Medical Research (London), she changed the long-held textbook dogma of the yolk sac origins of the adult hematopoietic system, showing that adult-type HSCs are generated from the embryonic aorta.

"Since we have demonstrated that hematopoietic stem cells are generated from hemogenic endothelium, our current studies focus on identifying the sequential expression of a number of pivotal transcription factors in the hemogenic endothelium and the downstream targets that are involved in the endothelial to hematopoietic transition,” she continues. "We will do this through our advanced embryo imaging methods and new mouse marker/mutant models.”

The ISEH Annual Scientific Meeting is among the important stimuli to her scientific work. It is also the place where she gets some ideas on meeting the challenges of her professional life – how to balance one’s personal and professional life and how to address the funding challenges due to the global economic crisis.

"For me the annual ISEH meeting is an extremely important conference,” she says. "I see many of my closest collaborators and colleagues, and I meet many young researchers. It is an energizing meeting that stimulates new ideas and an urgency to get back to the lab to start new experiments. I particularly enjoy the poster sessions, scientific and social interactions and the banquet, where I can dance with the students, postdocs and former ISEH presidents, especially dancing with whoever comes out on the dance floor like Thalia (Papayannopoulou) and Toshio (Suda).”

Music is important to Dzierzak.

"When not involved in science, I enjoy listening to music and going to concerts with my family and friends; we are big Bob Dylan fans,” she offers. "I also love to cook, especially with fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits when we are in the South of France for our holidays.”

Look for Elaine Dzierzak on the dance floor in Amsterdam. Or, connect with her now through the ISEH member database. Click here to learn more about her or to build your personal profile. You can also learn more about the Erasmus Medical Center Stem Cell Institute.

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Meet Peggy Goodell, Ph.D., ISEH vice president, from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.

Posted By ISEH Headquarters, Saturday, January 21, 2012

Focused and Forthright: ISEH Board Member Charts Strong Career Path

Margaret Goodell, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Director, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas, USA

Margaret "Peggy” Goodell, Ph.D., is ISEH vice president and serves on the 2012 Scientific Program Committee. She has been on the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine since 1997.

Her route to Baylor included some very interesting stops. Undergrad work was split between two continents – starting at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, USA and finishing at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, England. Goodell’s Ph.D. was achieved at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England.

"While looking for post-doctoral positions from graduate school, I was very interested in the future of cell and gene therapy,” Goodell recounts. "I realized that hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) were the key to long-term therapy of blood diseases, so I sought out Richard Mulligan's lab, for his combined interest in stem cells and gene therapy. Very few labs were interested in any kind of stem cells, so I was fortunate to find a small niche where their promise was recognized. There, my goal was to learn how to make HSCs replicate without differentiating, which I saw as critical to using them therapeutically. While no lab has yet achieved this goal, it led me to identify the Hoechst dye efflux properties of stem cells, and a new way to purify them. I have continued to use the "side population" purification strategy, refining it over time, as I have investigated the genes that regulate the normal function of HSCs.”

Mulligan’s lab was at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, USA. From there, she moved to Baylor. Goodell’s current work is focused on the regulation of normal HSCs, and what goes awry in cancer. She is particularly interested in how epigenetic mechanisms, specifically DNA methylation, control HSC self-renewal and differentiation. Recent entries in a long list of published manuscripts include "CD81 is essential for the re-entry of hematopoietic stem cells to quiescence following stress-induced proliferation via deactivation of the Akt pathway” in PLoS Biology and "Irgm1 protects hematopoietic stem cells by negative regulation of IFN signaling” in Blood.

In addition to her research, a rewarding part of Goodell’s work is the opportunity to work with those early in their careers and assist them in moving forward. Goodell directs a laboratory of about 20 students and post-doctoral fellows.

"At the 2011 ISEH meeting, I gave a workshop on academic career development,” she shares. "It was a thrill for me to present the workshop alongside Shannon McKinney-Freeman, who was my first graduate student, and now has an independent faculty position at St. Jude's Children's Hospital.”

In addition to her ISEH involvement, Goodell has served on the board of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (2005-2008), and on the Scientific Committee for Stem Cells for the American Society of Hematology (2009-2012). She currently is on the editorial boards of Cell Stem Cell and PLoS Biology, and serves as a reviewer for multiple journals and granting agencies.

She points to the tight funding situation as the biggest challenge facing academia today.

"The tight funding situation will slowly force changes in the way we do science,” she notes. "Universities and medical schools will have to adapt their expectations of the purpose of their stable of scientists, and we may see fewer trainees and more professional staff with time. As these changes will evolve slowly, we will have to anticipate and adapt to them in advance, or even better, lead them.”

While deeply involved with her work, Goodell strikes a balance by being equally as involved in the lives of her three young daughters, ages 11, 9 and 7.

"With them I get to dabble in lots of activities, such as re-learning the joys of things like poetry, history, algebra, Latin, piano and art,” she says. "Someday I might resume my personal hobbies, such as photography and exotic travel!”

ISEH members: Connect with Peggy through the ISEH member database. Click here to learn more about her or to build your personal profile. You can also learn more about the Goodell lab.

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Stephen M. Sykes, Ph.D., first fellowship award winner

Posted By ISEH Headquarters, Saturday, January 21, 2012

First Fellowship Winner Grateful for the Opportunity

Stephen M. Sykes Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Massachusetts General Hospital, Center for Regenerative Medicine
Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University
Boston, MA, USA

Stephen M. Sykes, Ph.D., said it was "definitely glorious” to receive notification that he had been named the first recipient of the ISEH Eugene Goldwasser Fellowship, supported by Amgen. Sykes is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Regenerative Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

The ISEH Eugene Goldwasser Fellowship, supported by Amgen, will be given annually to support the research activities of a deserving young investigator in the hematology field. Support will be a one-year, non-renewable $50,000 grant payable to the successful applicant's institution, for use as salary and/or other research support. The research may be basic or translational with a focus on experimental hematology, hematologic malignancies, hematopiesis or stem cell biology as it relates to hematology.

"This means a great deal to me,” Sykes exclaims. "It is a real honor to be chosen among what I can only assume were great candidates. Dr. Goldwasser's contributions to science are immeasurable, and I will definitely always look up to him. He did so much to translate work in the lab to the patient bedside. On a practical level, this fellowship provides me with protected time to carry out follow-up experiments on my current work.”

Sykes didn't start out to be a Ph.D. but as he moved along in his educational career, science found him.

"I grew up in Canada playing baseball,” he explains. "Well, the chances of playing professional baseball are relatively limited there. I received an opportunity to play baseball at a junior college in upstate New York. When I left, I promised my mother that I would put effort forth in my studies as well. Somewhere in those first two years, I realized that while I was a mediocre baseball player, I loved science and loved learning.”

His next stop on the education trail was a B.S. degree in biochemistry from Mount Allison University.

"At Mount Allison, my desire to pursue a career in biomedical sciences was strengthened by intense theoretical and practical coursework focused on the principles of molecular biology, metabolism and protein biochemistry,” he adds. "After graduation, I wanted to gain technical experience as well as perform research directed more towards cancer biology.”

Therefore, Sykes took a position in the laboratory of Dr. Xianxin Hua at the University of Pennsylvania.

"After the first six to eight weeks, I knew this was what I was meant to do,” Sykes concludes.

Two years later, he entered U Penn as a Ph.D. candidate and achieved his doctorate in cell and molecular biology in 2007. His first post-doc position took him to Dr. Gary Gilliland's lab at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston to study the role of the FOXO family of transcription factors in the maintenance of acute myeloid leukemia. When Dr. Gilliland left for industry, Sykes moved to David Scadden's laboratory at the Center of Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (Harvard University) and, with Dr. Scadden's encouragement, continued his work on FOXOs.

In Vancouver, Sykes will share his work that identifies a paradoxical role of the FOXO family of transcription factors supporting leukemia-initiating cell function in a multitude of genetically diverse acute myeloid leukemias.

"I attended the meeting in Melbourne last year and found it to be an intimate and interactive meeting,” he says. "I think ISEH is the right place for me, and I didn't need any encouragement to attend again in Vancouver. I really like the people I met at ISEH and the way they think about science.”

Sykes hopes that as he continues his work, it will become clearer to him how his research in the lab carries over to the clinic.

"The biggest challenge for me is to understand how basic research translates to patients,” he offers. "As a Ph.D., we have no patient contact and we can't set up clinical trials. We are still learning how our work moves forward to an effective drug. Maybe I can help find a way to work together with clinicians and industry to maximize everybody's knowledge.”

When asked what he likes to do outside of science, Sykes chuckled and said, "everybody in our field is constantly thinking about science.” However he indicates that the focus of his life outside of science is finding the energy to keep up with his three-year-old son.

"Man, that kid wears me out!”

ISEH members: Connect with Stephen through the ISEH member database. Click here to learn more about him or to build your personal profile.

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Learn about ISEH award winners – Hal E. Broxmeyer and Iannis Aifantis

Posted By ISEH Headquarters, Saturday, January 21, 2012
Updated: Saturday, January 21, 2012

ISEH, comprised of industry leaders in hematology, immunology, stem cell research, and cell and gene therapy, connects members worldwide for the opportunity to advance scientific knowledge. Each issue of Connections in Hematology & Stem Cells will introduce you to a few of those members. This issue, meet Hal E. Broxmeyer and Iannis Aifantis.

Hal E. Broxmeyer, Ph.D.
Chair, Professor and Scientific Director
Indiana University School of Medicine
Indianapolis, IN, USA

2011 Donald Metcalf Award winner
Established in 1999 in honor of Professor Donald Metcalf, "the father of hematopoietic cytokines," for his pioneering work on the control of blood cell formation, this award recognizes distinguished scientists in the field.

"I met Don Metcalf when I was at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and I have the greatest respect for him,” Dr. Broxmeyer states. "I was counting my colonies under a microscope and he came up to me and asked, ‘what are you looking at?' He added "those are really nice.' I truly admire him for all the work he did to start the field while still doing bench work throughout his career.”

Dr. Broxmeyer is internationally recognized for pioneering studies on hematopoietic stem cell biology that lead to clinical utility. His publications have been cited more than 27,000 times; 85 of these have been cited at least 85 times (H-factor of 85; 1974-present), with 67 of these cited from 100-1,006 times (as of May 23, 2011).

He discovered that cord blood contained transplantable stem cells (PNAS 1989, NEJM 1989). His laboratory studies on cord blood stem/progenitor quality and numbers, methods for their efficient cryopreservation, and development of the first cord blood bank as proof of principle (PNAS 1989, 1992, 2002) were determining factors in the first five transplants which provided long-term engraftment and led to greater than 25,000 cord blood transplants done to date to treat malignant and non-malignant diseases.

Dr. Broxmeyer demonstrated that antagonizing CXCL12/CXCR4 with AMD3100 rapidly mobilizes stem cells to blood, and enhanced G-CSF induced mobilization (JEM 2005), a clinical protocol now used worldwide. He discovered that inhibiting CD26 peptidase enhances stem cell homing/engraftment (Science 2004) needed when limiting numbers of stem cells are available, studies now being evaluated in the clinic. He established the concept of direct and indirect negative feedback regulation of hematopoiesis by iron-binding proteins, chemokines (JEM 1978, 1981; Blood 1990) and other cytokines, and the in vivo efficacy of growth factors working in synergistic combination (PNAS 1987). Dr. Broxmeyer continues to work to gain mechanistic insight into stem cell function, and with others, and as part of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), and other advisory groups, to enhance the efficacy of cord blood and mobilized adult peripheral blood transplantation.

Microbiology was his initial field of study.

"When I was looking into where to go for my Ph.D., I met a woman that I've now been married to for 42 years,” Broxmeyer recounts. "Beth told me about this new field of experimental hematology. I followed her to New York University and began working in the laboratory doing hematological research.”

Toward the end of his Ph.D. work exploring the means to regulate the release of leukocytes from bone marrow, he got into his current emphasis on stem/progenitor cell biology. A post-doc position at Kingston General Hospital at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, was followed by eight years at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center before landing at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Ind. He is working on how embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells can be used to better understand hematopoietic stem cell biology.

"I love research; it excites me,” he follows. "I love to be the first one to learn what's going on so I still score some experiments.”

Dr. Broxmeyer is a long-time supporter of ISEH, having attended his first meeting in 1976 and served as president in 1991. He especially likes that the Society is not too big, allowing members to interact easily with one another and form lifelong relationships.

Outside of science, Dr. Broxmeyer has numerous interests including weightlifting, taking long walks with his wife, reading and watching movies when he just needs to relax. From 1994 to 1999, he took one of the top three spots in his age and weight division for Olympic style weightlifting at the U.S. National Master's Weight-Lifting Championships.

"When I was younger, I could clean and jerk 265 pounds, clean and press 245 pounds and snatch 205 pounds in New York City and state competitions at a body weight of about 170 pounds,” he states. "I wish I could still lift these poundages!”

Take a peek at a May 2010 video with Dr. Broxmeyer talking about cord blood banking and transplantation.

ISEH members: Connect with Hal through the ISEH member database. Click here to learn more about him or to build your personal profile.

Iannis Aifantis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pathology
New York University School of Medicine
Early Career Scientist
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
New York, NY, USA

2011 McCulloch and Till Award winner
Established in 2004 in honor of Professor Ernest McCulloch and Professor James Till, this award recognizes junior scientists in the field of hematology and stem cells.

Dr. Aifantis has been on a fast moving train….studying biology, molecular biology and genetics in his home country's University of Crete, Dr. Aifantis then went to the University of Paris for his Ph.D. in immunology. Following his Ph.D., he took his post-doc at Harvard University's Dana Farber Cancer Institute and then had his own lab in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago.

He is currently an associate professor of pathology at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine, co-director of the Cancer Stem Cell Program of the NYU Cancer Institute and an early career scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Dr. Aifantis' laboratory focuses on mechanisms of differentiation and transformation of hematopoietic stem cells and progenitors. More specifically they focus on the molecular mechanisms of both lymphoid (ALL) and myeloid (AML, CMML) leukemia induction and maintenance. Their work has identified and studied novel oncogenes, tumor suppressors and downstream signaling pathways. They have also used these pathways to design molecularly targeted therapeutic protocols that could inhibit the induction or affect the maintenance of the disease. Moreover, the laboratory is studying mechanisms of hematopoietic stem cell differentiation and self-renewal using both genomic and genetic approaches.

"The biggest challenge for a researcher is that you end up realizing that to do science correctly, you will have to try to cover multiple fields and disciplines and that requires extensive collaborative effort,” Dr. Aifantis states.

Dr. Aifantis talked about changes he has seen even in his relatively short career.

"When I started 10 to 12 years ago, you could try to address questions by yourself or within your own laboratory,” he remembers. "That is almost impossible today. Today you must go outside of your lab, outside of your institution and outside of your city to find people who are willing to work together and cover all the different aspects of a project.”

ISEH has been a source of inspiration and collaboration.

"I am inspired by and follow a number of Society members who have done amazing work,” he adds. "And, I'm currently collaborating with some members. I will attend my first ISEH member in Vancouver and look forward to meeting many more colleagues.”

In his Vancouver presentation, Dr. Aifantis will likely cover his most recent findings on transformation of hematopoietic stem cells by epigenetic mechanisms. He'll also address enzymes that affect DNA methylation in myeloid leukemias.

His most recent publication in Nature discusses the origins of a type of myeloid leukemia and states that novel mutations in an intracellular communication pathway called Notch led to the cancer, pointing to a potential new target for treating this disease. Notch was already implicated in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but the new research found an unexpected role for it in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML). Read more in the May 12, 2011 issue of Nature.

Outside of science, Dr. Aifantis points to dining and music as favorite activities.

"I truly enjoy dining, and that is why big cities like New York appeal to me,” he says. "I am always looking for different tastes as well as excellence in food preparation techniques. Music is important to me too. I used to be a DJ when I was younger, and I still follow new trends in music.”

Dr. Aifantis also includes traveling on his list of activities, especially to his home country Greece where his family still resides.

"In our field, our jobs take us to very interesting places,” he recounts.

ISEH members: Connect with Iannis through the ISEH member database. Click here to learn more about him or to build your personal profile.


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Featured Member: Anskar Yu-Hung Leung

Posted By ISEH Headquarters, Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dr. Anskar Yu-Hung Leung is a specialist in haematology and haematological oncology. His article in the November 2010 issue of Experimental Hematology, "Role of a novel zebrafish nup98 during embryonic development,” with fellow authors Tsz-Kan Fung, Martin I.S. Chung and Raymond Liang, has been met with great interest. According to the paper’s objectives section, "the nucleoporin NUP98 is a component of the nuclear pore complex that regulates nucleocytoplasmic trafficking. It has been characterized in acute myeloid leukemia as a fusion partner during chromosomal translocation. In this study, we identifi! ed a zebrafish nup98 gene and examined its role in embryonic development.” The results found that "a novel zebrafish nup98 was identified and it serves a role in nucleocytoplasmic trafficking similar to human NUP98. During development, it modulates hematopoietic stem cell and early myeloid development and maintains the integrity of cranial vasculature in the developing central nervous system.”

"The work on zebrafish nup98 has provided us with grounds to develop a model whereby the pathogenetic role of human leukemia fusion gene in zebrafish can be characterized in zebrafish,” Dr. Leung reports. "Patients with acute myeloid leukemia carrying NUP98-HOXA9 have a very grave prognosis with conventional treatment. The model which we are going to develop will enable us to screen novel agents targeting this particular leukemia type.”
Working with zebrafish for his science was a logical progression for this fish hobbyist.
"Keeping an aquarium as a hobby has always been part of my life since I was a kid,” he shares. "As a clinical hematologist, I manage patients with hematological malignancies in my practice. When I learned a few years ago that zebrafish can be useful in modeling human blood diseases, it instantly became my focus of research.” Dr. Leung is a widely published author. In addition to the Experimental Hematology piece mentioned above, his 2010 manuscripts include:

  • A DEAB-sensitive aldehyde dehydrogenase regulates hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells development during primitive hematopoiesis in zebrafish embryos. Leukemia.
  • Differential NOD/SCID mouse engraftment of peripheral blood CD34(+) cells and JAK2V617F clones from patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms. Leuk Res.
  • Successful engraftment by leukemia initiating cells in ad! ult acute lymphoblastic leukemia after direct intrahepatic injection into unconditioned newborn NOD/SCID mice. Exp Hematol.
  • FLT3/internal tandem duplication subclones in acute myeloid leukemia differ in their engraftment potential in NOD/SCID mice. Leuk Res.
  • Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation: current concepts and novel therapeutic strategies. Br Med Bull.
  • Occult autologous haematopoietic regeneration without disease relapse following myeloablative allogeneic haematopoietic SCT for lymphomas. Bone Marrow Transplant.
  • Mediastinal cryptococcosis masquerading as therapy-refractory lymphoma. Ann Hematol.
  • CD20 expression in natural killer T cell lymphoma. Histopathology.
  • Metabolic activity measured by F-18 FDG PET in natural killer-cell lymphoma compared to aggressive B- and T-cell lymphomas. Clin Nucl Med.
  • Spontaneous central venous catheter fracture: relevance of the pinch-off sign. J Hosp Med.
  • Sweet Syndrome due to Myelodysplastic Syndrome: Possible Therapeutic Role of Intrav! enous Immunoglobulin in Addition to Standard Treatment. Adv Hematol.
  • T-cell large granular lymphocyte leukemia: an Asian perspective. Ann Hematol.

Dr. Leung relates some challenges facing him in his professional life today. "With conventional chemotherapy and even hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, the treatment outcome of most patients with acute myeloid leukemia is not satisfactory,” Dr. Leung states. "As a practicing hematologist, I feel the need and urgency to look for novel treatment for these diseases. Until recently, biomedical research has not been the focus of government policy in Hong Kong and local research has been limited by the availability of resources. Fortunately, the condition may improve as the public awareness of stem cell research has increased locally and we all expect more resources to be invested from government.” Another challe! nge facing this scientist is on the home front where he is instructing his sons, ages eight and 10, to clean the home aquarium. "I believed the trait of keeping up the aquarium should be inherited, but it isn’t,” he sadly concludes."

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Featured Member: Bertie Göttgens, DPhil

Posted By ISEH Headquarters, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bertie Göttgens, DPhil
McCulloch and Till Award Winner

Dr. Bertie Göttgens, too, is thrilled and also humbled to receive this ISEH honor. "The McCulloch and Till Award is a highlight of my career to date," Göttgens expresses. "I studied biochemistry for my first degree at the University of Tübingen in Germany. My degree course was very traditional with a strong emphasis on classical biochemistry such as having to learn by heart the famous Boehringer Biochemical Pathways Map. However, I was more interested into the then still emerging field of molecular biology, in particular gene regulation. I therefore chose to do a PhD with Prof. Lorna Casselton in Oxford, where my goal was to identify and functionally characterize homeobox transcription factors that control mating in mushrooms. The subsequent jump from studying sex in fungi to blood stem cells was by chance. I was looking for an exciting lab working on gene regulation in the Cambridge area and was offered a postdoc position in the lab of Tony Green. This turned out to have been an excellent choice, particularly as I was very quickly given the opportunity to establish my own research theme which ever since has been to combine state of the art transgenic assays with bioinformatic and genomic approaches to study transcriptional control mechanisms in blood stem and progenitor cells."

Today, Dr. Göttgens is reader in molecular haematology on a permanent position within the Department of Haematology, University of Cambridge. He runs an 11-strong research group funded through grants won competitively from a variety of funding agencies. The group is based in the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, a multi-disciplinary centre of excellence within the Medical School of Cambridge University. The long-term research goal of the Göttgens group is to decipher the molecular hierarchy of transcriptional networks responsible for blood stem cell development. To this end, the group uses complementary state-of-the-art approaches including transgenic mice, bioinformatics, ChIP-Seq assays and mathematical modelling of stem cell regulatory networks. In particular, the group has been at the forefront of using new techniques for the analysis of gene regulatory elements such as long-range genomic sequence comparisons (Nature Biotech 2000), transgenic characterisation of blood stem cell enhancers (EMBO J 2002), genome wide computational screens for gene regulatory elements with predicted in vivo activity (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004; Hum Mol Genet 2005; Bioinformatics 2005; Dev Cell 2009), chip-on-chip assays (Genome Research 2006; Blood 2008; Blood 2009; Mol Cell Biol 2010), regulatory network reconstruction (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007; PLoS Comp Biol 2010), the first ChIP-Seq analysis of any key blood stem cell regulator (Blood 2009), and the first multi-factor ChIP-Seq analysis of any adult stem/progenitor cell type (Cell Stem Cell 2010). The cumulative output of more than 50 research papers over the last five years has been the development of the most comprehensive transcriptional dataset for any adult stem/progenitor cell type with more than 100 in vivo validated direct functional interactions.  When asked about the biggest challenge facing him in his professional life today, he cites the need of maintaining the right balance between regular interaction with his team to keep everybody motivated and focused on addressing important biological questions on the one hand against the constant temptation to be distracted by answering the many e-mails in his inbox marked urgent. When not "doing science," Dr. Göttgens enjoys spending time with his family.
"Given that my older daughter will finish school in three years, this family time is becoming ever more precious," he states.

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Featured Member: Ihor Lemischka, PhD

Posted By ISEH Headquarters, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ihor Lemischka, PhD
2010 Metcalf Award Winner

"I am greatly honored to have been selected for this award," says Ihor Lemischka, PhD, The Mount Sinai Medical Center. "ISEH has always been a very special organization for me. I’ve been involved for a long time and at one point, it was the only place where we could go every year to discuss stem cell biology." Dr. Lemischka is the Lillian and Henry M. Stratton professor of gene and cell medicine and professor of developmental and regenerative biology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He also serves as director of the Black Family Stem Cell Institute, Mount Sinai’s foundation for both basic and disease-oriented research on embryonic and adult stem cells. Prior to Mount Sinai, Dr. Lemischka spent 21 years at the forefront of stem cell research as a professor of molecular biology at Princeton University. He earned his doctoral degree in the Center for Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and went on to become a postdoctoral research associate there, followed by an additional postdoctoral fellowship at MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

The move to Mount Sinai has allowed him to do things in a bigger way to further advance his research on the molecular and cellular nature of the undifferentiated stem cell "states" and how such states are altered during a change in cell fate. "Princeton did not have a medical school," Dr. Lemischka notes. "In order to transition to drug therapy and translational study related to human disease, I wanted to be at a research-based medical center." The Black Family Stem Cell Institute website states: "Progress in understanding the implications of stem cell research has been swift. Studies show that it is possible to reprogram adult skin cells into cells that are very similar to embryonic stem cells. Once stem cells can be grown and differentiated in a controlled way to replace degenerated cells and repair tissues, medical science may then be able to diagnose and cure many intractable diseases at their earliest stages, such as type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, various cardiovascular diseases, liver disease, and cancer.

"My Metcalf address in Melbourne will be a combination of several things," Dr. Lemischka says. "I’d like to give a historical perspective on how the field has moved along during my career and how my research has helped address important questions. I’ll talk about qualitative and systems biology, touch on my recently published and yet-to-be-published work, as well as share my very strong personal viewpoint of where we need to go to achieve clinical breakthroughs." Among his research published recently was "Patient-specific induced pluripotent stem-cell-derived models of LEOPARD syndrome," which was featured on the cover of Nature 465, 808-812 (10 June 2010). Dr. Lemischka is happy leading a team working to identify how and when things go wrong at the cellular level in order to learn to interfere with the process or block it to prevent these diseases "I come from a family heavily loaded with physicians, including my father," he recalls. "When I decided to go into the PhD world vs. becoming an MD, it caused considerable consternation with my father and mother. There came the time, however, when my father said to me ‘son, I’m glad you didn’t take my advice and go to medical school. Now I see what an impact your research has for medicine of the future.’ That was truly a special moment for me."

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Vice President: Elaine Dzierzak, PhD

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Elaine Dzierzak studied biology at the University of Illinois, (USA) and received her PhD in biology from Yale University. She did her postdoctoral training at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (MIT) and was the first to demonstrate the expression of a retrovially transduced therapeutic gene in hematopoietic cells after bone marrow stem cell transplantation. At the National Institute for Medical Research (London), she changed the long-held textbook dogma of the yolk sac origins of the adult hematopoietic system, showing that adult-type HSCs are generated from the embryonic aorta. In 1996 she moved her research group to Erasmus Medical Center (Rotterdam), Dept. of Cell Biology where she is a professor of developmental biology and director of the Erasmus Stem Cell Institute. She is co-director and founder of the master of science program in molecular medicine, a VICI and NIG merit award winner, a member of EMBO and director of the BSIK SCDD consortium. She aims to identify the molecules involved in the generation and expansion of hematopoietic stem cells with long term goals to improve clinical cell replacement therapies for blood-related genetic diseases and leukemias.

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Director: David Traver, PhD

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, February 8, 2011

David Traver is associate professor in the Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, Calif. His undergraduate degree in cell and molecular biology is from the University of Washington. He earned his doctoral degree in immunology from Stanford University followed by a post doctoral assignment at Harvard University. Dr. Traver is an associate editor for Experimental Hematology. His research interests and expertise include use of model organisms (zebrafish) to understand hematopietic stem cell biology.

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Director: Emmanuelle Passegue, PhD

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Emmanuelle Passegué is associate professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology Oncology with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Her research focus is deciphering the mechanisms controlling hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) and progenitor cell functions during normal hematopoiesis and in hematological malignancies. Dr. Passegué earned her doctoral degree from the University Paris XI, France. She trained at the Institute for Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria and at Stanford University.

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