Research Areas

The ultimate goal of HSCRB’s research, whether it is focused on the most basic level of cellular development or on screening chemical compounds for potential drugs, is combating disease and tissue degeneration and improving human health.  Research is conducted in our state-of-the-art laboratories in Cambridge and in many of Harvard’s affiliated world-class hospitals.

Areas of Research & Laboratories

Aging and Stem Cells

Lee Laboratory

Our goal is to understand heart failure and metabolic diseases that accompany human aging, as these diseases are now major barriers to healthy aging. We are interested in translating that understanding into therapies, including stem cell transplantation strategies and new biological agents.

Rossi Laboratory

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the only cells within the bone marrow that possess the ability to both differentiate to all blood lineages, and to self-renew for life. These properties, along with the remarkable ability of HSCs to engraft conditioned recipients upon intravenous transplantation, have established the clinical paradigm for stem cell use in regenerative medicine. However, despite the enormous clinical potential of HSCs, surprisingly little is known about the mechanisms that regulate their fundamental properties of self-renewal and multi-potency.

Wagers Laboratory

Effective functioning of the body’s tissues and organs depends upon innate regenerative processes that maintain proper cell numbers (homeostasis) and replace damaged cells after injury (repair).  In many tissues, regenerative potential is determined by the presence and functionality of a dedicated population of stem and progenitor cells, which respond to exogenous cues to produce replacement cells when needed.  Understanding how these unspecialized precursors are maintained and regulated is essential for understanding the fundamental biology of tissues.  In addition, this knowledge has …

Cancer

Hochedlinger Laboratory

Our lab tries to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying pluripotency and nuclear reprogramming. Pluripotency denotes the ability of cells, such as embryonic stem (ES) cells, to give rise to all cell types of the mammalian body, while nuclear reprogramming is the dedifferentiation of a specialized cell back into a pluripotent state. Reprogramming does not normally occur in vivo but can be achieved experimentally by nuclear transfer, ES cell-somatic cell fusion and by directly inducing embryonic genes in somatic cells, generating so-called induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells.

Verdine Laboratory

The research interests of the Verdine lab lie in the emerging area of chemical biology. We study biologic processes underlying growth and proliferation of human cancer cells, control of gene expression, and preservation of genomic integrity.

Zon Laboratory

Dr. Leonard Zon's laboratory focuses on the developmental biology of hematopoiesis and cancer. Over the past five years, we have collected over 30 mutants affecting the hematopoietic system. Some of the mutants represent excellent animal models of human disease. For instance, the isolation of the ferroportin iron transporter was based on a mutant zebrafish and subsequently was shown to be mutated in patients with iron overload disorders. The mutants also represent interesting key regulatory steps in the development of stem cells.

Cardiovascular Development and Metabolic Disease

Cowan Laboratory

Our goal is to understand how naturally occurring human genetic variation protects (or predisposes) some people to cardiovascular and metabolic disease—the leading cause of death in the world—and to use that information to develop therapies that can protect the entire population from disease.

Lee Laboratory

Our goal is to understand heart failure and metabolic diseases that accompany human aging, as these diseases are now major barriers to healthy aging. We are interested in translating that understanding into therapies, including stem cell transplantation strategies and new biological agents.

Musunuru Laboratory

Our goal is to understand how human genetic variation protects or predisposes some people to myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death, and other cardiovascular disorders and to use that information to prevent disease.

Directed Differentiation

Cowan Laboratory

Our goal is to understand how naturally occurring human genetic variation protects (or predisposes) some people to cardiovascular and metabolic disease—the leading cause of death in the world—and to use that information to develop therapies that can protect the entire population from disease.

Eggan Laboratory

Our research is focused on understanding the contribution of environmental and genetic factors in the development of disease. The relative impact of these factors to pathogenesis is not well understood for many disorders. Complex interactions between genes and the environment have made it particularly difficult to develop accurate models for the sporadic and so called multifactorial forms of human disease.

Meissner Laboratory

Our laboratory is a mixed group of experimental and computational biologists in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB).  We use genomic tools to study developmental and stem cell biology with a particular interest in the role of epigenetic regulation (Mikkelsen et al. Nature 2008; Koche, Smith et al. Cell Stem Cell 2011).

Melton Laboratory

We study the developmental biology of the pancreas with a view to finding new treatments for diabetes. Our aim is to understand how the pancreas develops and use that information to grow and develop new pancreatic cells (Islets of Langerhans). This project is an example of the larger question of how vertebrates make an organ from undifferentiated embryonic cells.

Rinn Laboratory

Our research aims to understand the role of long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) in establishing the distinct epigenetic states of adult and embryonic cells and their misregulation in diseases such as cancer. To further explore how lincRNAs may define and or drive cell fate decisions we developed computational methods to provide initial hypothesis of their functions. This “guilt by association method” pointed to a clear connection of lincRNAs and numerous cellular pathways ranging from pluripotency, cancer, adipogenesis to parasitology.

Rossi Laboratory

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the only cells within the bone marrow that possess the ability to both differentiate to all blood lineages, and to self-renew for life. These properties, along with the remarkable ability of HSCs to engraft conditioned recipients upon intravenous transplantation, have established the clinical paradigm for stem cell use in regenerative medicine. However, despite the enormous clinical potential of HSCs, surprisingly little is known about the mechanisms that regulate their fundamental properties of self-renewal and multi-potency.

Rubin Laboratory

Our laboratory focuses on translational, high-throughput research to model disease and develop drugs using stem cells. We have established an extensive range of complex image based assays that have been used to probe various properties of stem cells and of many cells derived from them. To accomplish this we use automated high content screening imagers, associated robotic equipment, and selected small molecule libraries.

Zon Laboratory

Dr. Leonard Zon's laboratory focuses on the developmental biology of hematopoiesis and cancer. Over the past five years, we have collected over 30 mutants affecting the hematopoietic system. Some of the mutants represent excellent animal models of human disease. For instance, the isolation of the ferroportin iron transporter was based on a mutant zebrafish and subsequently was shown to be mutated in patients with iron overload disorders. The mutants also represent interesting key regulatory steps in the development of stem cells.

Epigenetics

Hochedlinger Laboratory

Our lab tries to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying pluripotency and nuclear reprogramming. Pluripotency denotes the ability of cells, such as embryonic stem (ES) cells, to give rise to all cell types of the mammalian body, while nuclear reprogramming is the dedifferentiation of a specialized cell back into a pluripotent state. Reprogramming does not normally occur in vivo but can be achieved experimentally by nuclear transfer, ES cell-somatic cell fusion and by directly inducing embryonic genes in somatic cells, generating so-called induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells.

Meissner Laboratory

Our laboratory is a mixed group of experimental and computational biologists in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB).  We use genomic tools to study developmental and stem cell biology with a particular interest in the role of epigenetic regulation (Mikkelsen et al. Nature 2008; Koche, Smith et al. Cell Stem Cell 2011).

Zon Laboratory

Dr. Leonard Zon's laboratory focuses on the developmental biology of hematopoiesis and cancer. Over the past five years, we have collected over 30 mutants affecting the hematopoietic system. Some of the mutants represent excellent animal models of human disease. For instance, the isolation of the ferroportin iron transporter was based on a mutant zebrafish and subsequently was shown to be mutated in patients with iron overload disorders. The mutants also represent interesting key regulatory steps in the development of stem cells.

Epithelial Development and Disease

Hsu Laboratory

We study how different cell types coordinate with one another to maintain tissue function during development, regeneration, and repair.

Hematopoietic Development and Disease

Rossi Laboratory

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the only cells within the bone marrow that possess the ability to both differentiate to all blood lineages, and to self-renew for life. These properties, along with the remarkable ability of HSCs to engraft conditioned recipients upon intravenous transplantation, have established the clinical paradigm for stem cell use in regenerative medicine. However, despite the enormous clinical potential of HSCs, surprisingly little is known about the mechanisms that regulate their fundamental properties of self-renewal and multi-potency.

Scadden Laboratory

The Scadden lab focuses on blood, particularly the regulation of the hematopoietic stem cell by its microenvironment or niche. Using a combination of genetically modified mice, imaging and pharmacology, the laboratory has defined key components of the niche and how stem cells traffic to and engraft the bone marrow. It has demonstrated methods of altering niche interactions that have resulted in two clinical trials in the use of stem cells to treat hematologic malignancies.

Wagers Laboratory

Effective functioning of the body’s tissues and organs depends upon innate regenerative processes that maintain proper cell numbers (homeostasis) and replace damaged cells after injury (repair).  In many tissues, regenerative potential is determined by the presence and functionality of a dedicated population of stem and progenitor cells, which respond to exogenous cues to produce replacement cells when needed.  Understanding how these unspecialized precursors are maintained and regulated is essential for understanding the fundamental biology of tissues.  In addition, this knowledge has …

Zon Laboratory

Dr. Leonard Zon's laboratory focuses on the developmental biology of hematopoiesis and cancer. Over the past five years, we have collected over 30 mutants affecting the hematopoietic system. Some of the mutants represent excellent animal models of human disease. For instance, the isolation of the ferroportin iron transporter was based on a mutant zebrafish and subsequently was shown to be mutated in patients with iron overload disorders. The mutants also represent interesting key regulatory steps in the development of stem cells.

Immune Tolerance

Strominger Laboratory

The study of histocompatibility led to the understanding of the mechanisms of immune recognition and to the discovery of novel molecules and cells involved in these processes, including Class I and Class II proteins encoded in the major histocompatibility complex of all vertebrates examined and T cell receptors.

Zon Laboratory

Dr. Leonard Zon's laboratory focuses on the developmental biology of hematopoiesis and cancer. Over the past five years, we have collected over 30 mutants affecting the hematopoietic system. Some of the mutants represent excellent animal models of human disease. For instance, the isolation of the ferroportin iron transporter was based on a mutant zebrafish and subsequently was shown to be mutated in patients with iron overload disorders. The mutants also represent interesting key regulatory steps in the development of stem cells.

Kidney Development and Repair

Zon Laboratory

Dr. Leonard Zon's laboratory focuses on the developmental biology of hematopoiesis and cancer. Over the past five years, we have collected over 30 mutants affecting the hematopoietic system. Some of the mutants represent excellent animal models of human disease. For instance, the isolation of the ferroportin iron transporter was based on a mutant zebrafish and subsequently was shown to be mutated in patients with iron overload disorders. The mutants also represent interesting key regulatory steps in the development of stem cells.

Nervous System Development and Disease

Arlotta Laboratory

Programming, Reprogramming and Modeling of the Mammalian Cerebral Cortex

The execution of critical behaviors like movement, emotion, and intelligence relies on the orchestrated integration into functional circuits of an outstanding diversity of neuronal subtypes.

Eggan Laboratory

Our research is focused on understanding the contribution of environmental and genetic factors in the development of disease. The relative impact of these factors to pathogenesis is not well understood for many disorders. Complex interactions between genes and the environment have made it particularly difficult to develop accurate models for the sporadic and so called multifactorial forms of human disease.

Rubin Laboratory

Our laboratory focuses on translational, high-throughput research to model disease and develop drugs using stem cells. We have established an extensive range of complex image based assays that have been used to probe various properties of stem cells and of many cells derived from them. To accomplish this we use automated high content screening imagers, associated robotic equipment, and selected small molecule libraries.

Nervous System Development and Regeneration

Arlotta Laboratory

Programming, Reprogramming and Modeling of the Mammalian Cerebral Cortex

The execution of critical behaviors like movement, emotion, and intelligence relies on the orchestrated integration into functional circuits of an outstanding diversity of neuronal subtypes.

Zhou Laboratory

The human body is a collection of numerous cells types.  Each cell type is tasked with performing a set of unique and highly specialized functions.  Our laboratory and others have shown that cells of adult organs can be instructively reprogrammed to assume new identities and perform new functions. 

Noncoding RNA

Rinn Laboratory

Our research aims to understand the role of long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) in establishing the distinct epigenetic states of adult and embryonic cells and their misregulation in diseases such as cancer. To further explore how lincRNAs may define and or drive cell fate decisions we developed computational methods to provide initial hypothesis of their functions. This “guilt by association method” pointed to a clear connection of lincRNAs and numerous cellular pathways ranging from pluripotency, cancer, adipogenesis to parasitology.

Nuclear Reprogramming

Eggan Laboratory

Our research is focused on understanding the contribution of environmental and genetic factors in the development of disease. The relative impact of these factors to pathogenesis is not well understood for many disorders. Complex interactions between genes and the environment have made it particularly difficult to develop accurate models for the sporadic and so called multifactorial forms of human disease.

Hochedlinger Laboratory

Our lab tries to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying pluripotency and nuclear reprogramming. Pluripotency denotes the ability of cells, such as embryonic stem (ES) cells, to give rise to all cell types of the mammalian body, while nuclear reprogramming is the dedifferentiation of a specialized cell back into a pluripotent state. Reprogramming does not normally occur in vivo but can be achieved experimentally by nuclear transfer, ES cell-somatic cell fusion and by directly inducing embryonic genes in somatic cells, generating so-called induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells.

Meissner Laboratory

Our laboratory is a mixed group of experimental and computational biologists in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB).  We use genomic tools to study developmental and stem cell biology with a particular interest in the role of epigenetic regulation (Mikkelsen et al. Nature 2008; Koche, Smith et al. Cell Stem Cell 2011).

Melton Laboratory

We study the developmental biology of the pancreas with a view to finding new treatments for diabetes. Our aim is to understand how the pancreas develops and use that information to grow and develop new pancreatic cells (Islets of Langerhans). This project is an example of the larger question of how vertebrates make an organ from undifferentiated embryonic cells.

Pancreas Development and Diabetes

Melton Laboratory

We study the developmental biology of the pancreas with a view to finding new treatments for diabetes. Our aim is to understand how the pancreas develops and use that information to grow and develop new pancreatic cells (Islets of Langerhans). This project is an example of the larger question of how vertebrates make an organ from undifferentiated embryonic cells.

Zhou Laboratory

The human body is a collection of numerous cells types.  Each cell type is tasked with performing a set of unique and highly specialized functions.  Our laboratory and others have shown that cells of adult organs can be instructively reprogrammed to assume new identities and perform new functions. 

Reprogramming

Zhou Laboratory

The human body is a collection of numerous cells types.  Each cell type is tasked with performing a set of unique and highly specialized functions.  Our laboratory and others have shown that cells of adult organs can be instructively reprogrammed to assume new identities and perform new functions. 

Skin and Hair Follicle Development and Regeneration

Hsu Laboratory

We study how different cell types coordinate with one another to maintain tissue function during development, regeneration, and repair.

Tissue Homeostasis

Hochedlinger Laboratory

Our lab tries to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying pluripotency and nuclear reprogramming. Pluripotency denotes the ability of cells, such as embryonic stem (ES) cells, to give rise to all cell types of the mammalian body, while nuclear reprogramming is the dedifferentiation of a specialized cell back into a pluripotent state. Reprogramming does not normally occur in vivo but can be achieved experimentally by nuclear transfer, ES cell-somatic cell fusion and by directly inducing embryonic genes in somatic cells, generating so-called induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells.