Grants awarded

Functions and applications of a novel pluripotency signalling pathway

Grantholder:

Dr Greg Findlay

University of Dundee

United Kingdom

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are pluripotent, a property that allows them to form all cell types, tissues and organs in the adult body. ESCs hold enormous promise for cell replacement therapy and for understanding diseases. We must understand the molecular signals that instruct ESCs to remain pluripotent or to form a different cell types if we are to use them to form tissues and organs.

My laboratory has identified a new molecular signal, controlled by an enzyme called ERK5, which instructs ESCs to remain pluripotent and prevents formation of heart tissue. I will decipher the proteins and genes that ERK5 acts on to control ESC pluripotency and heart tissue formation.

My findings can be used to improve laboratory-based development of heart tissue from ESCs for cell replacement therapy and further research.