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Professor Elaine Dzierzak obtained her Ph.D. in Immunology from Yale University and did postdoctoral training in retroviral mediated gene transfer at the Whitehead Institute, MIT. She started her research laboratory at the National Institute for Medical Research, London (UK 1989). In 1996 she moved to the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam (NL) where she was Professor of Developmental Biology, founder and co-director of the Master of Science Program in Molecular Medicine, and the Founding Director of the Erasmus Stem Cell Institute. She moved to the Centre for Inflammation at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. 

Current Research Interests

Professor Elaine Dzierzak's research interests are focused on understanding how adult hematopoietic stem cells are generated so as to identify and manipulate the molecular programs leading to their generation, maintenance and regeneration.

Research Interests

Professor Elaine Dzierzak's laboratory was the first to show that HSCs are born in the aorta-gonad-mesonephros region of the developing mammalian embryo. We have recently shown through a live imaging approach that HSCs arise from endothelial cells lining the wall of the embryonic aorta in a natural reprogramming event. This transdifferentiation is known as Endothelial cell-to Hematopoietic cell transition (EHT). We are one of the few groups worldwide that can isolate these special endothelial cells and show that they yield robust transplantable HSCs (the gold-standard for clinically relevant HSCs). Using our unique expertise and novel resources (models and reagents), our laboratory fosters new translational strategies to de novo generate human HSCs from patient somatic cells. Our specific goals are to

1) mark and manipulate the molecular program for HSC generation during the EHT;

2) define extrinsic molecules/factors affecting EHT and engineer novel niches to promote EHT;

3) molecularly reprogram human somatic cells or endothelial derived iPS cells directly to HSCs. These goals will be realized through novel multi-colour in vivo reporter models and ES/iPS lines indicating EHT in real-time, allowing for the isolation and functional validation of de novo HSC generation. The results will significantly advance haematological research and technology, and should have a major impact on how HSCs are manipulated and used clinically.

Research Groups

Haematological Regeneration Group

  • Chris S. Vink - Lab Manager
  • Samanta A. Mariani - Senior Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Zhuan Li - Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Roger Ronn - Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Eoghan Forde - PhD Student
  • Antonio Maglitto - PhD Student
  • Carmen Rodriguez Seoane - Research Assistant

Education/Academic qualification

Biology/Immunology, Doctor in Philosophy, Yale University

… → 1985

Biology, Master of Philosophy (MPhil), Yale University

… → 1982

Veterinary Pharmacology, Master in Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

… → 1977

Biology, Bachelor of Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

… → 1974


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