Cell Biology/Single Cells
Stem Cell Dynamics & Mitochondrial Genomics
Hematopoiesis describes the process of blood formation and is sustained by the activity of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells throughout our lifetime. While our understanding of stem cell biology continues to grow, it still remains challenging to study the in vivo activity of individual stem cells in humans.
To overcome this, we develop single cell multi-omic approaches, in particular to detect naturally occurring sequence variation in the mitochondrial genome of our cells. Notably, a large fraction of hematopoietic cells develops unique mutational profiles, which we utilize as natural genetic barcodes to enable lineage tracing/assessments of clonal activity across the stem and progenitor cell pool. In conjunction with genomic readouts of cellular chromatin accessibility, gene and protein expression profiles, we aim to unravel fundamental principles of stem cell dynamics and (de-)regulation in disease states, including leukemia. Moreover, an interrelated key objective of the group is the study of how mitochondrial genotypes contribute to cellular phenotypes in congenital disorders, aging and common diseases.