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Researcher | Research Overview

Assistant's information - Aubrey Plumb,

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) form the base of the hematopoietic hierarchy and can give rise to each of the blood lineages present during a vertebrate’s lifetime. Gene programs and signaling networks regulating HSC development and function are highly evolutionarily conserved, with dysregulation resulting in blood disorders and malignancies. HSCs are therapeutically valuable for the treatment of hematologic disease, but are in limited supply and currently cannot be effectively expanded or produced in vitro. My research utilizes genetic methods and chemical biology approaches in the zebrafish embryo to identify and characterize pathways regulating HSC induction, self-renewal and lineage commitment in vivo. To demonstrate regulatory conservation and translational application, we employ in vivo functional analyses in adult zebrafish and mice, as well as human in vitro hematopoietic differentiation assays. Through these efforts, we have uncovered a series of extrinsic or environmental cues that influence the spatio-temporal development, expansion and maintenance of HSCs across vertebrates, which has direct translational relevance for the de novo derivation of HSCs for therapeutic application.

Researcher | Research Background

Dr. Trista E. North is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, principle investigator in the Stem Cell Program and Department of Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Co-Director of the Developmental and Regenerative Biology graduate program. Dr. North received her BA from Bowdoin College in 1996, and PhD from Dartmouth College in 2002. Following completion of her postdoctoral research at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. North established her independent research laboratory in 2008 with a focus on Developmental Hematopoiesis. She is an active faculty member in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at HMS, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Leukemia Program. Dr. North currently serves as Treasurer on the Executive Board of the Zebrafish Disease Models Society; she is also a member of the Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Scientific Committee of the American Society of Hematology, and Nominating Committee for the International Society of Experimental Hematology.

Researcher | Publications