Research

At the Black Family Stem Cell Institute, we are committed to understanding the mechanisms that govern embryonic stem cells, how they develop in a normal embryo, and how embryonic stem cells determine their “fate” or functions.

In addition, we study adult stem cells and how they develop. Adult stem cells are essential for the replacement of cells with finite life span and for maintaining healthy tissues. Adult stem cells are found in the bone marrow as hematopoietic stem cells that give rise to all blood cells, in the skin and intestine, and in many other tissues, including the liver, skeletal muscle, and the brain.

By integrating the biology of embryonic and adult stem cells, scientists will focus on building and/or expanding expertise in a number of different areas, including the hematopoietic, cardiac, skeletal muscle, and pancreatic systems. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is in a strong position to develop a broad stem cell program with existing strengths and expertise in various stem cell research areas, as well as expertise in bone marrow, liver, and kidney transplantation.

By combining expertise in stem cell biology and neurobiology, our laboratory has pioneered a new approach to study psychiatric disease.  We obtain skin samples from patients, which are then reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells, and subsequently differentiated into human neurons. The goal of our research is to better understand the genetic and cellular mechanisms contributing to schizophrenia, in the hope that this may one day lead to potential new therapies. Learn more about the Brennand Laboratory

The Blenkinsop Laboratory studies how particular eye conditions lead to changes in the epigenetic code and transformation of cellular behavior. We model in vitro various eye diseases (including Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy and Age-related Macular Degeneration) using human tissue from generous donations. Learn more about the Blenkinsop Laboratory

The Dubois Laboratory is studying human heart development and disease. The lab uses the human pluripotent stem cell model to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cell fate specification and disease in the early human heart, with the aim to contribute to generating therapeutically relevant cell populations that can be used for studies of disease mechanisms as well as transplantation and drug discovery. Learn more about the Dubois Laboratory

The lab focuses on the roles of epigenetics regulators in stem cell control using skin as a model system. Researchers want to uncover whether the epigenetic machinery controls cell fate, understand how functions of epigenetic regulators in stem cell control differ between pluripotent embryonic stem cells and unipotent skin stem cells, and elucidate how changes in functions of epigenetic regulators lead to diseases and cancer. Learn more about the Ezhkova Laboratory

The Ghaffari Laboratory studies mechanisms that sustain blood-forming stem and progenitor cell production throughout life and that are perturbed in disease. We have focused on the FOXO family of transcription factors that are key regulators of stress resistance and implicated in enhancing human longevity. In our studies, we apply genetic tools and biochemistry to investigate the biology of mouse and human cells, and various mouse models of human blood disorders.  Learn more about the Ghaffari Laboratory

The Gouon-Evans Laboratory aims to understand liver development by studying this process in mouse embryos and human pluripotent stem cells (PSC) as well as human specimens.  In addition, we are investigating the ultimate utility of human PSC-derived hepatic cells in cell therapy for liver diseases. Learn more about the Gouon-Evans Laboratory

The Lemischka Laboratory’s focus is to understand the molecular and cellular nature of the undifferentiated stem cell “states,” and how such states are altered during a change in cell fate.  The underlying rationale is that the complement of gene products and the inter-relationships that exist in stem cells account for their remarkable abilities to balance self-renewal and differentiation decision processes. The lab studies both adult and pluripotent stem cells in mouse and human, and investigates these areas at the computational, cell, and molecular levels. Learn more about the Lemischka Laboratory

The Moore Laboratory is studying both the basic biology and molecular mechanisms that make a hematopoietic stem cell a self-renewing stem cell that sustains our blood system throughout life. This is accomplished by investigating these properties in model systems and by trying to convert other cell types into hematopoietic stem cells for eventual therapeutic uses. Learn more about the Moore Laboratory

The Papapetrou Laboratory uses somatic cell reprogramming and genome editing technologies (CRISPR and others) to develop human pluripotent stem cell models of blood diseases, particularly of malignant and pre-malignant disorders of hematopoiesis (Myelodysplastic Syndromes, MDS, and Acute Myeloid Leukemia, AML). We use these models to investigate the disease mechanisms and to develop new therapies. Learn more about the Papapetrou Laboratory

The lab studies the formation and function of stem cell niches. Specifically, we use genetic mouse models for embryonic hair follicle formation and for adult hair growth and regeneration to uncover how specialized Dermal Papilla (DP) cells act as instructive niche cells for hair follicle stem cells. A major focus is also to define how DP cells acquire the hair-inducing cell fate in the first place that sets them apart from regular skin fibroblasts. Learn more about the Rendl Laboratory

The lab uses iPSCs from healthy subjects or from patients suffering from cardiovascular and neurological disorder to investigate the underlying disease pathologies, understand the disease causing mechanisms, discover expression signatures and signaling pathways that may represent novel therapeutic targets for the treatment and/or cure of these pathologies, and to evaluate and develop novel therapeutics. Learn more about the Schaniel Laboratory

The lab studies genetic and epigenetic regulation of embryonic stem cell pluripotency and somatic cell reprogramming, using genomic and proteomics approaches. It has pioneered proteomics approaches to understanding pluripotency of embryonic stem cells by establishing an in vivo biotinylation system for critical pluripotency factors and their associated protein complexes for stem cell maintenance.  Learn more about the Wang Laboratory

Pluripotent stem cells can regenerate any tissue in the body, but the ability to direct these versatile cells toward specific medical endpoints, such as tissue repair or replacement, has been slow to develop. Our research is expected to accelerate the use of pluripotent stem cells in humans with injury or disease in a controlled, robust, and predictable manner. Learn more about the Zwaka Laboratory