Our research falls into three broad themes: (i) Stem cell states; (ii) Stem cells in disease – malignancy and regenerative failure; (iii) Stem cells & therapeutics. Many PIs contribute to more than one theme. Within these themes we have particular strengths in pluripotency, haematopoiesis, neural and epithelial stem cells.
A key strategy is to embed biological, clinical and physical scientists operating across disparate tissues and at multiple scales, thus allowing commonalities and differences to be explored in a cohesive and inter-disciplinary manner. A network of affiliated PIs provide bridges to basic and disease-focused institutes throughout Cambridge and ensure that CSCI represents the heart of a vibrant stem cell community. Importantly a critical mass of clinician scientists creates synergistic interactions between basic scientists and those driven by disease-focused questions, thus ensuring that CSCI is fully integrated with its clinical environment and empowered to pursue its translational goals.
Theme 1: Stem Cell States
We study the fundamentals of pluripotent and adult stem cells to understand the mechanisms by which they self-renew, maintain their states and commit to differentiate. We aim to achieve new insight into these long-standing issues through a programme of innovative and cross-disciplinary investigation that integrates knowledge at multiple scales across different tissues and organisms.
Theme 2: Stem Cells in Disease
Many disease states arise (malignancies) or persist (regeneration failure) as a result of stem and progenitor cell dysfunction. Underpinned by our exploration of normal stem cell states, we are investigating the mechanisms responsible for pathological behaviours of stem and progenitor cells. We focus particularly on malignancy and regenerative failure, in studies which are laying the foundation for new approaches to diagnosis and treatment.
Theme 3: Stem Cells & Therapeutics
We exploit the potential of stem cells to model diseases in vitro and to generate new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells and organoids, combined with advanced genome engineering technology, provide excellent platforms for studying human diseases in vitro. In addition several investigators are developing first-in-human clinical trials of cellular therapies using stem cell derivatives.
Image credits: Juergen Fink; Murphy; Philipp Berg