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Dr Elisa Laurenti

107-Laurenti-2017Dr Elisa Laurenti

Human haematopoietic stem cells biology in health and disease


Laboratory: Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre

Departmental Affiliation: Haematology



Elisa Laurenti received her Master in Biological Sciences from the University of Bologna in 2003. She then undertook her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Andreas Trumpp at the Swiss Institute for Cancer Research in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2010 she joined Dr John Dick’s laboratory at University Health Network (Toronto, Canada) where she became interested in the study of human hematopoietic stem cells.

In 2014, she established her own research group at the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and Department of Haematology of the University of Cambridge. She is currently a Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Research Fellow.



European Haematology Association, Wellcome, Royal Society, BBSRC, Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Birax


Laurenti research 2018

A single human hematopoietic stem cell captured in a microfluidics device, ready to be subjected to gene expression analysis. (Credit: Serena Bellushi)



Haematopoietic stem cells (HSC) are responsible for life-long blood production. They are the best-studied stem cell type owing to decades of research with animal models. Despite the high incidence of blood-related diseases, and accumulating evidence that certain aspects of HSC biology are species-specific, very little is known on human HSC. My laboratory develops integrated approaches combining in vitro and in vivo single cell assays, transcriptomics and bioinformatics to study human HSC and progenitor cells.  We are currently investigating how cell cycle regulation, inflammation and ageing, processes intimately linked to disease initiation, affect human HSC unique molecular and functional properties. Understanding how the cellular and molecular composition of the HSC/progenitor compartment changes in stress conditions and throughout a human lifetime has important implications for regenerative medicine and treatment of blood cancers. 


 Laurenti group 2018


Group Members

Serena Belluschi, Emily Calderbank, Megan Davies, Michael Drakopoulos, Daniel Hayler, Carys Johnson, Nicole Mende, Aditi



If you are interested in working with us, please contact us at, we are always looking for smart motivated people to join our team. 


Plain English

Every day a trillion blood cells are produced in our body. This amazing turnover is achieved thanks to blood stem cells. These cells have the unique capacity to produce all blood cells in healthy individuals but also after injury or infection. Their function is vital, because if impaired, either blood production fails or cancer arises. Our laboratory thus focuses on these 2 important questions:

  • How are human blood stem cells different from other blood cell types?
  • What is the impact of age and disease on human blood stem cell function? For this we measure human blood stem cell responses to a number of signals, compare them to other blood cells and identify specific genes that regulate their behaviour. We also study what goes wrong in blood stem cells when there is inflammation, in the elderly and during the early stages of cancer development. Understanding how blood formation occurs in humans in all of these contexts we hope will help design new therapies against a range of diseases. 


Key Publications