I am a developmental and stem cell biologist at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, The Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. I received my Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology (Developmental Biology) from King’s College London in 2001 and, after undertaking a postdoctoral position in the University of Nottingham, I joined the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit.
I am interested in the development of the haematopoietic system, in particular how haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are created during embryogenesis. I have established Xenopus as a unique model for the study of the ontogeny of this tissue stem cell. Using this model organism, I made the all-important demonstration that adult and embryonic blood have distinct origins and are differentially programmed.
I have also identified and characterised the niches where the precursors for HSCs reside temporarily and demonstrated that signalling pathways are recurrently used during HSC programming, particularly that the growth factor, VEGFA, plays several distinct roles.
I am currently establishing the gene regulatory networks controlling the programming of HSCs in the embryo and I am establishing collaborations aiming to applying this information for the establishment of protocols for the in vitro differentiation of HSCs from pluripotent stem cells.
Gene Regulatory Networks Governing the Generation and Regeneration of Blood.
Ciau-Uitz A. and Patient R., (2019), J Comput Biol, 26, 719 - 725
Etv6 activates vegfa expression through positive and negative transcriptional regulatory networks in Xenopus embryos.
Li L. et al, (2019), Nat Commun, 10
New methods for computational decomposition of whole-mount in situ images enable effective curation of a large, highly redundant collection of Xenopus images.
Patrushev I. et al, (2018), PLoS Comput Biol, 14
CBFβ initiates the hematopoietic stem cell program without obligatory binding to RUNX
Ciau-Uitz A. et al, (2017)
Dissecting BMP signaling input into the gene regulatory networks driving specification of the blood stem cell lineage.
Kirmizitas A. et al, (2017), Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 114, 5814 - 5821