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FIRST LOOK: New Approaches to Controlling Stem Cell Fate

Embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, which can be propagated indefinitely in culture in an undifferentiated state or induced to differentiate into every cell type in the adult body, holds promise for regenerative medicine. Proper execution of these distinct but developmentally relevant programs requires precise tuning of gene expression by transcription factors. Indeed, aberrant transcriptional regulation is the root cause of many human diseases including developmental disorders, cancers, and degenerative diseases.

We have devised various biochemical strategies to isolate and characterize critical cellular machinery responsible for transcription in stem cells, and to reconstruct the complex process of gene expression in vitro. This technique, in combination with genetic and computational methods, provides powerful tools to understand the function of these gene regulatory factors in healthy cells and the fundamental mechanism by which their misregulation can lead to human diseases and disorders.

For more information about Dr. Fong’s research, please contact Partners HealthCare Innovation by clicking here.