Defining the haematopoietic system through integrated multi-scale analysis


  • Prof Berthold Gottgens

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

The human body produces three million new blood cells every second to replace short-lived red and white blood cells. This constant process of blood formation depends on long-lived blood stem cells, which can divide to make all other types of blood cell. Tight regulation of blood cell formation is essential to prevent the development of fatal diseases such as leukaemia.

We will use recent technological innovations that allow analysis of regulatory processes in thousands of single cells. A combination of complementary experimental and computational methods will be used to enhance our understanding of how blood stem cells decide whether or not they need to produce new white or red blood cells. It is also proposed to build a computer model that directly links the behaviour of the entire blood system with regulatory processes in individual cells, so that we can make better predictions, for example about the effectiveness of modern targeted drugs.

This new framework will not only advance our understanding of normal blood stem cells and leukaemia, but also be broadly applicable to the study of other organs and diseases.