Mendez-Ferrer headshot

Dr Simón Méndez-Ferrer

Blood stem cell niches

Email: sm2116@medschl.cam.ac.uk

Laboratory Location:

Cambridge Blood Centre, NHS Blood and Transplant, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Departmental Affiliation:

Department of Haematology

Biography

Méndez-Ferrer has discovered a connection with bone marrow, the brain and other systemic signals which controls the behaviour of blood stem cells.  His research has contributed to the dissection of the “niches” in which stem cells reside and to the understanding of the role of these niches in the development of myeloproliferative diseases.  

Funding

ERC, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

External links

https://www.hhmi.org/scientists/simon-mendez-ferrer

https://www.hhmi.org/research/stem-cell-niche-physiopathology


Mendez-Ferrer research image 2-1ratio

Peri-vascular nestin+ niche stem cells are innervated by sympathetic fibers in the bone marrow. Projection stack (~100 μm) of fluorescent images showing the distribution of Nestin-GFP+ cells (green), CD31/PECAM+ vascular endothelial cells (blue) and tyrosine hydroxylase+ sympathetic nerve fibers (red) after whole mount staining of the skull bone marrow. (Credit Isern and Méndez-Ferrer, Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2011 Dec;9(4):210-8.)

Research

The Méndez-Ferrer laboratory research focuses on the regulation of the haematopoietic stem-cell niche in health and disease.  Blood stem cells reside in specialised niches which allows them to self-renew, proliferate, differentiate and migrate according to the organism's requirements. The group studies multisystem regulatory mechanisms by which the haematopoietic stem cell niche fulfils these complex functions and how the deregulation of these mechanisms contributes to haematological disorders. The group has demonstrated that the brain regulates a peripheral stem cell niche in the bone marrow partly through sympathetic innervation of nestin+ niche cells. Protection of this regulatory network, whose constituents might share a related ancestry, can block the manifestation of myeloproliferative neoplasms. Our research indicates that neuroendocrine regulation of bone marrow stem cells by adrenergic signals or by sex hormones could potentially offer novel therapeutic approaches. We study the interaction of mesenchymal and haematopoietic stem cells and its implications for bone marrow transplantation procedures and the development of myeloproliferative neoplasias.

Mendez-Ferrer group

 

Claire Fielding

Dorian Forte

Anne Francis

María García-Fernández

 

Andrés García-García

Claudia Körn

Tom McKerrell

Justyna Rak

 

Plain English

Our research focuses on the regulation of the environment (‘niche’) in which the blood stem cells reside both in health and disease. Blood stem cells are located in specialised niches which allow them to function according to the organism's requirements. We study the mechanisms of how the stem cell niche fulfills these complex functions. Through this, we aim to understand how the disruption of these mechanisms contributes to blood disorders.

Key Publications

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