Instructor, Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Research Fields: hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC), early hemo-lymphopoiesis, gene regulation, epigenetic regulation, leukemia
A balanced and continuous supply of blood and immune cells is important for maintaining one's health. Disruption of this process can cause diseases such as immune disorders, cancers and leukemias. Lymphocytes as well as other blood and immune cells differentiate from a self-renewing multi-potent hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) that undergoes progressive lineage restriction and commitment. This process is dependent on nuclear factors acting as key regulatory nodes to control gene expression in a cell-type and stage-specific manner.
My research goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate lineage decisions in early hemo-lymphopoiesis and to identify alterations in these mechanisms responsible for development of aberrant immune systems as well as hematological malignancies. In particular, our research has been focused on understanding transcriptional and epigenetic regulations that are guided by the Zn-finger DNA binding factor Ikaros, a key regulator for development of the adaptive immune system, and its associate ATPase chromatin remodeler Mi-2beta (CHD4). In addition, I am interested in identifying upstream events that regulate Ikzf1 gene expression in early hemo-lymphopoiesis, in order to shed light on a regulatory network that governs normal and malignant lymphoid development.
Ultimately, I hope my work helps to develop novel therapeutic approaches for hemo-lymphoid disorders and malignancies.