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Research question:

How do perturbations of gene expression establish tumour initiating cells that maintain tumour identity and allow for relapse after treatment? We developed a large mouse lymphoid tumour bank and used the tumours along with genomic techniques to discover many new proto-oncogenes. Most new oncogenes are involved in the initiation of leukemia or lymphoma, and act by altering a progenitor cell. We also use mouse strains with germline mutations to study hemato-vascular development and genes that predispose to hematopoietic cancers. These studies have discovered epigenetic factors in stem cell maintenance, and the role of chromatin switches in lineage commitment during normal development and in cancer. Our current work focuses on a powerful regulator of pluripotency, PRDM14, whose misexpression causes T- and B-ALL through epigenetic mechanisms.

Project members:

Lauren Tracey – Graduate Student