McMaster University

Stem Cell and Cancer
Research Institute

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Kristin Hope


Kristin Hope

McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences

View Hope Laboratory website

Research Overview

Dr. Kristin Hope joined the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute in August 2010. Kristin obtained her Ph.D. in molecular and medical genetics from the University of Toronto in 2007. Her doctoral work was carried out in the lab of Dr. John Dick and focused on the characterization and therapeutic targeting of the leukemic stem cells that drive human acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Dr. Hope initiated post-doctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Guy Sauvageau at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer in Montreal where she focused her efforts on carrying out functional screens using the mouse system to identify novel hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) regulators.

Dr. Hope’s research program is focused on dissecting the molecular regulation of normal and malignant HSC self-renewal and hopes to identify the underlying processes that ultimately lead to leukemic transformation and progression. In lower organisms such as the fruit fly, cell polarization coupled with the asymmetric inheritance of fate determinants is critical for regenerating stem cell pools while simultaneously ensuring production of all required differentiated cell types. When dysregulated however, these processes contribute instead towards malignant progression and the formation of tumors driven by stem cells that divide unchecked. Because of their importance in other stem cell systems, Dr. Hope’s work will pay particular attention to defining the role that polarity and asymmetric cell division proteins may play in the maintenance and/or expansion of mouse and human HSC and leukemic stem cells (LSC). With this work she aims to provide advances that will have implications for the development of novel methods to amplify HSC for use in regenerative therapies or to reign in constitutively self-renewing leukemia cells.

Recently, Dr. Hope identified 4 proteins with conserved roles in cell polarization and/or asymmetric cell division as novel regulators of mouse HSC self-renewal. Of these, the RNA binding protein Musashi2 (Msi2) is of particular interest since it is involved in leukemic translocations and when present at elevated levels is associated with poor outcome in these same diseases. Current projects in the lab focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms through which Msi2 influences HSC self-renewal, how it contributes to the pathogenesis of hematopoietic malignancies and further characterizing its role in LSC function.


2000 - 2007 — PhD, Molecular and Medical Genetics, University of Toronto
1996 - 2000 — BSc, Honours Biochemistry, University of Waterloo

Honours and Awards

Year Description
2010 - 2015 OICR New Investigator Award
2010 Cole Foundation Fellowship
2007 CIHR Post-doctoral Research Fellowship
2007 NCIC Post PhD Research Fellowship (Declined)
2007 FRSQ Post-doctoral Training Award (Declined)
2003 Appointed to the International Society for Experimental Hematology Emerging Leaders Task Force
2002 CIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship -3 year term
2000 - 2001 Ontario Graduate Scholarship
2000 NSERC Summer Fellowship

Selected Publications

  • Hope KJ* and Bhatia M*. (2011). Clonal interrogation of stem cells. Nature Methods. 8(4Suppl):S36-40.
  • Hope KJ* and Sauvageau G*. (2011). Roles for MSI2 and PROX1 in hematopoietic stem cell activity. Curr Opin Hematol. 18(4):203-207.
  • Hope KJ, Cellot S, Ting SB, MacRae T, Mayotte N, Iscove NN, Sauvageau G. An RNAi screen identifies Msi2 and Prox1 as having opposite roles in the regulation of hematopoietic stem cell activity. Cell Stem Cell. 7(1):101-113.
  • Barabe F*, Kennedy JA*, Hope KJ, Dick JE. (2007). Modeling the initiation and progression of human acute leukemia in mice. Science. 316(5824):600-604.
  • Jin L*, Hope KJ*, Zhai Q, Smadja-joffe F, Dick JE. (2006). Targeting of CD44 eradicates human acute myeloid leukemia stem cells due to abrogation of stem cell trafficking and induction of differentiation. Nature Medicine. 12(10):1167-1174.
  • Hope KJ*, Jin L*, Dick JE. (2004). Acute myeloid leukemia originates from a hierarchy of leukemic stem cell classes that differ in self-renewal capacity. Nature Immunology. 5(7):738-743. *authors made equal contribution.
  • Hope KJ, Jin L, Dick JE. (2003). Human acute myeloid leukemia stem cells. Arch Med Res. 34(6):507-514.
  • Warner JK, Wang JC, Hope KJ, Jin L, Dick JE. (2004). Concepts of human leukemic development. Oncogene. 23(43):7164-7177.

*authors made equal contribution.

[Kristin Hope's publications on Pub Med]