Research Activities

The focus of my laboratory is to understand and manipulate the behavior of pluripotent and somatic stem cells to understand mechanisms of human disease and develop novel therapeutics. Our research utilizes systems biology to tease apart cell behavior and pathophysiology. We often use pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) as a model stem cell system because they are easier to grow and manipulate in culture than somatic stem cells. In fact, pluripotent stem cells have become the “new yeast”, enabling researchers to analyze mammalian development at the transcriptome (mRNA & miRNA), proteome, methylome, etc. systems level. Of course, yeast do not encode miRNA so this is an critical difference supporting the use of human ESC research. Importantly, we are now combining these systems approaches to study human disease using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).  We believe such a systems genetics strategy will identify novel therapeutic targets and therapeutics for many diseases including cancer.  

This work complements our previous endeavors which focused extensively on using the mouse as a model for human disease and generated novel gene trap vectors and a resource of more than 23,000 sequence annotated gene trap mouse embryonic stem cell lines that represents mutations in more than 4500 unique genes as well as numerous targeted clones as part of the CMHD and NorCOMM resources ( This resource is freely available to academic researchers as part of the international mouse knockout project.