Psaila Group: Normal and Malignant Megakaryocyte/Platelet Biology
We are interested in (1) Applying state-of-the-art single cell approaches to study normal and malignant megakaryocyte biology and bone marrow fibrosis, to identify new targets for therapy for patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms; and (2) The role of platelets as biomarkers for early cancer detection.
Our key areas of research are:
Applying single cell technologies to study normal and malignant megakaryocyte biology
Megakaryocytes are large, rare cells found in the bone marrow that release blood platelets into the circulation and also produce many growth factors and other proteins that regulate blood cell development and the bone marrow microenvironment. We apply state-of-the-art approaches, including at single cell level, to clarify the cellular pathways by which megakaryocytes arise from haematopoietic stem cells. This is important as in certain malignancies, such as myeloproliferative neoplasms, megakaryocytes develop abnormally and contribute to key pathological features of the disease, including the harmful scarring that destroys the bone marrow.
Bone marrow fibrosis
Using patient samples and in vivo models of myeofibrosis, we are studying the key cell-cell and ligand-receptor interactions that mediate bone marrow fibrosis at single cell level.
Target discovery and validation
We use computational approaches to prioritise targets from differentially-expressed gene lists for further validation. We have established novel in vitro platforms to validate these targets using both healthy donor cells and cells derived from bone marrow biopsies from patients.
Role of platelets in early detection of cancer
We are also interested in the role of platelets in cancer, in particular in how they may serve as diagnostic biomarkers for early cancer detection.
Our work is highly translational, and our overarching goal is to identify new targets for therapeutic development that may lead to meaningful improvements in outcomes for patients. with cancer.