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Blood Stem Cells and Leukaemia: Developmental Signalling and Niche

Led by Dr Fernando Anjos-Afonso, this research group studies the regulation of human normal versus malignant blood development.

Studies on signalling pathways that govern haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) self-renewal and fate decisions are critical to understand how a balanced array of progenies is produced on a daily basis to maintain homeostasis of the blood system and how this balance is skewed during disease formation such as Leukaemia.

The molecular mechanisms, in particular the cell-to-cell interactions that support and regulate HSCs in their niche, are still largely unexplored. This research group focuses on human biology and the Notch signalling pathway, which has a positive impact on normal HSC regulation. However, it appears that Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) can evade Notch signals, although how this works is poorly understood. The group is investigating this with the aim of developing more targeted therapeutics to treat AML patients.

Group lead

Dr. Fernando Anjos-Afonso