CIRM trainees (PhD students)

Sree Lakshmee Maroli (Kim lab)

Sree's work aims to better understand how to differentiate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) efficiently into the desired cell types in order to realize the potential of hiPSCs in regenerative medicine. Her main focus will be to examine the role of transposable elements (TEs) during cell differentiation. About 1000 TEs are part of the noncoding genome, many of which are highly expressed in the pluripotent state.

Dr. Kim's lab focuses on the role of transcribed but untranslated RNA. The lab uses genomic and genome engineering technologies to discover and understand the functions of these noncoding RNAs. Specifically, the Kim lab studies how RAS signaling regulates the noncoding transcriptome during the earliest stages of cancer and development using human induced pluripotent stem cells.

Sadaf Abed (Feldheim lab)

Sadaf aims to better understand the differentiation of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) from a common stem/progenitor cell precursor. Over 30 different types of RGCs have been identified today and a better understanding of RGC subtype generation is necessary to make possible the error-free generation of RGCs for use in therapeutics. All neurons of the retina are generated from a common precursor cell and the expression of different transcription factors are required for the generation of separate retinal cell types. Sadaf will focus on Isl2 in this process.

The overall goal of the Feldheim lab is to determine the mechanisms used to develop brain circuitry from neural stem cells and to determine the physiological, and ultimately, the behavioral consequences of disrupting these mechanisms.

Mays Salih (Carpenter lab)

Mays will use hiPSC-derived macrophages to determine the role of HNRNPA2B1 in inflammatory regulation and arthritis pathogenesis. Human iPSC (hiPSC) derived macrophages represent an attractive model because of their biological relevance in the immune response. Mays will use hiPSCs obtained from the Allen Institute to generate functional macrophages using a multistep protocol.

The research focus of the Carpenter lab is to examine the role of long noncoding RNAs with a particular interest in and their role in development of myeloid cells that control inflammation.

Ryan Hoffman (Salama/Haussler lab)

Ryan will use stem cell-derived organoids to gain insights on the patterning role of the choroid plexus (ChP) in human cerebral cortex development. He has established a reliable protocol for the generation of ChP organoids from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) that form an expanding fluid filled cavity interior to developing cerebral tissue. He will perform transcriptomic and secreted proteomic analysis to determine the molecular program and the secretion profile of the human ChP across the span of embryonic development. He will then study individual molecular pathways by using known regulatory factors and/or chemical inhibitors.

The Haussler-Salama lab has been devising innovative experimental approaches using pluripotent stem cells, genome-wide measurements of gene expression and gene regulatory activity, and CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing approaches to understand how recent genome evolution contributes to human development and disease.

CIRM award: EDUC4-12759