Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
“What drives me is the belief that by truly understanding the unique circuitry of stem cells, we will have the tools we need to harness these cells for regenerative medicine, and to rein in the aberrant stem cells that drive disease.”
Research in Dr. Kristin Hope’s lab revolves around the study of hematopoietic stem cells More specifically, understanding at the molecular level how and why these stem cells either self-renew or differentiate. Understanding these cell-fate decisions is crucial for determining how to maintain the health of a human blood system. When there is a balance between self-renewal and differentiation of cells, the blood system is working normally; when there is an imbalance, diseases like leukemia arise.
More specifically, the Hope program is studying the role of RNA-binding proteins in the regulation of these stem cells. The lab is exploring, in a high throughput manner, a wide variety of RNA-binding proteins and their potential for controlling both healthy and leukemic stem cells. Of particular interest has been the Musashi-2 protein; recent findings in the Hope lab demonstrate that this protein is implicated in the growth of stem cells within human cord blood.
To determine the role of RNA-binding proteins in both healthy and leukemic human stem cells, Dr. Hope is seeking to develop better screening approaches using the unique expertise housed at the SCC-RI. A more robust understanding of these proteins will be critical to developing novel therapeutics for certain blood-based disorders.
Informing the design of targeted anti-leukemic therapies to improve treatment options and outcomes for patients with this disease.
Insight into the specialized cellular machinery that functions in blood stem cells paves the way to developing new strategies to amplify these cells for regenerative medicine.
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Nature. 2016 Apr 28;532(7600):508-11
Nature Methods. 2011 Apr; 8(4 Suppl): S36-40.