Improving the lives of patients afflicted with hematopoietic disorders
Our ultimate goal is to see the implementation of meaningful discoveries in basic biology help drive novel clinical outcomes.
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside in the bone marrow and are defined by their capacity for lifetime maintenance of the blood and bone marrow, achieved through their differentiation into the myriad of cellular components, as well as their ability to generate additional stem cells via self-renewal. The mechanisms that instruct the fate of stem cells toward differentiation versus self-renewal are still relatively poorly understood. A number of transcription factors have been identified as critical for HSC maintenance and self-renewal; however, we have little insight into how these factors are orchestrated by epigenetic mechanisms to ensure blood homeostasis. The central theme of the Challen Lab’s research is understanding how epigenetic marks such as histone methylation and acetylation, DNA methylation, and 5-hydroxymethylation co-ordinately act to regulate normal HSC function and how these processes go awry in hematopoietic diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma. In order to explore these questions, we use various mouse genetic models to study the roles of genetic mutations of different components of the epigenetic machinery in cancers of the blood and bone marrow.
Our lab aims to implement meaningful discoveries in basic biology to help drive novel clinical outcomes.