Epigenetics of stem cells and cancer stem cells
Neural stem cells (NSC) have the ability to proliferate and differentiate into all neuronal and glia cell types within the brain. In addition to their essential role during development, NSCs are important for learning, memory and neuronal repair in adults. Genetically mutated NSC are also thought to be the origin of glioblastoma, which is one of the most common brain tumours in adults and has a very poor survival rate.
My lab is interested in the epigenetic mechanisms that control gene expression in stem cells. We are using next generation sequencing to study the changes in histone modifications during stem cell differentiation and malignant transformation. By understanding the epigenetic mechanisms underlying these cell type transitions, we hope to facilitate the use of epigenetic and stem cell therapies to treat cancer and neurodegenerative disease.