My research program is focused on understanding the pathways that regulate the differentiation of a specialized type of stem cell, known as a human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC). HPSCs have the potential to generate most, if not all of the cell types in the human body. Our lab is interested in understanding how these cells make blood cells and heart cells in the Petri dish. Over the past five years, we have identified the key regulators that control these processes and are now able to make most of the cell types of the human heart and blood cell system from hPSCs. With these advances, we are now able to work towards establishing new therapeutic approaches to treat both heart and blood-cell diseases. Our heart disease efforts are in collaboration with the biotechnology company BlueRock Therapeutics and are aimed at using heart cells made from hPSCs to remuscularize and repair heart tissue damage following a heart attack. Within the blood cell system, we are working to produce different types of immune cells from hPSCs that can be used to fight cancer, eradicate infections or modulate autoimmune responses in patients.
Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Director, Research Institute, McEwen Stem Cell Institute
Director, McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University Health Network
Lead Scientist, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine
Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto