Although embryonic stem cells hold great potential for a variety of therapeutic and research applications, a great deal of work needs to be done to realize this potential. This includes understanding how to “encourage” stem cells to differentiate into a specific cell or tissue type.
Charisma and her Broad colleagues are tackling this problem directly by generating gene expression signatures of dissected embryonic and extra-embryonic tissues and stem cells. In parallel, they are establishing a mouse embryonic stem cell line and treating those cells with selected chemicals to see if those treatments can cause the stem cells to differentiate. This will be determined by comparing the resulting gene expression signatures of the chemically treated stem cells to those obtained from the dissected embryonic and embryonic tissues.
PROJECT: Validation of Gene Expression Signatures Employed in Directed Stem Cell Differentiation Using Small Molecule Perturbagens
My summer experience at the Broad extends far beyond the pioneering laboratory research completed. Yes, my project on directed stem cell differentiation kept me fascinated and driven, but I can always look back on the people and events that made my summer exceptional.