The Lucas Lab focuses on understanding the function of bone marrow (the organ that produces blood cells).
We know that hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) are the ultimate source of all blood cells. They reside in specific niches formed by blood vessels, perivascular (LepR+ and Ng2+) and megakaryocytes in the bone marrow that maintain and regulate them.
While many of the signals that regulate HSC and their niches have been identified, we know very little about how the bone marrow senses and responds to changes in its environment.
- How does it adjust blood cell production to organism demand?
- How does it sense hematopoietic injury and respond to restore homeostasis?
- What are the mechanisms that determine the size of the hematopoietic stem cell niche?
- How are the different components of the HSC niche regulated?
Answering these questions is important because doing so will allow us to develop new therapeutic approaches to promote blood cell production during disease (for example, bone marrow failure and leukemia or lymphoma).
It will also allow us to manipulate bone marrow niches to promote recovery after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, bone marrow failure or blood cancer.