Psaila Group: Normal and Malignant Megakaryocyte and Platelet Biology
We apply state-of-the-art approaches to study normal and malignant megakaryocyte biology and bone marrow fibrosis, to identify new targets for therapy for patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms. We are also interested in the role of platelets as biomarkers for early cancer detection.
Our key areas of research are:
Cellular and Molecular Pathways of megakaryocyte development
Megakaryocytes are bone marrow cells that produce blood platelets and also release and store proteins that regulate blood cell development and the bone marrow microenvironment. We apply state-of-the-art approaches, including at single cell level, to dissect the cellular pathways by which megakaryocytes arise from blood stem cells. This is important as in certain blood cancers, such as myeloproliferative neoplasms, megakaryocytes develop abnormally and contribute to key disease features, including the development of harmful scarring (fibrosis) that destroys the bone marrow.
Bone marrow fibrosis
We are trying to discover how abnormal cross-talk between megakaryocytes, stem cells and the bone marrow stroma triggers fibrosis development in a subset of patients with myeloid blood cancers, and how this may be prevented.
Target discovery and validation in myeloproliferative neoplasms
We use computational approaches to prioritise targets from differentially-expressed gene lists for further validation. We have also developed improved and platforms to validate these targets using both primary human cells.
Immunity in MPNs
We are studying the immune landscape in MPNs, to better understand vulnerability to infection, vaccine responses and opportunities for immunotherapy.
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 that may lead to meaningful improvements in outcomes for patients.