Each stem cell resides in a highly specialized anatomic location known as the niche that protects and regulates stem cell function. The importance of the niche in hematopoiesis has long been appreciated in transplantation, but without methods to observe activity in vivo, the components and mechanisms of the hematopoietic niche have remained incompletely understood. Zebrafish have emerged over the past few decades as an answer to this. Use of zebrafish to study the hematopoietic niche has enabled discovery of novel cell-cell interactions, as well as chemical and genetic regulators of hematopoietic stem cells. Mastery of niche components may improve therapeutic efforts to direct differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells from pluripotent cells, sustain stem cells in culture, or improve stem cell transplant.
© 2018 by The American Society of Hematology.

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Photo of Len Zon

The Zon laboratory aims to dissect how assaults to the hematopoietic system cause severe diseases such as leukemias, lymphomas, and anemias. They investigate hematopoietic development and disease using chemical screens, genetic screens, and analysis of novel transgenic lines in zebrafish.

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