We are focused on studying leukemic stem cells in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). In particular, we are interested in the interaction between leukemic stem cells and their microenvironment (niche) in the bone marrow to identify and target critical pathways directing clonal evolution and enabling survival of leukemic stem cells through interaction with the stem cell niche. Current projects have an emphasis on epigenetic changes in the bone marrow microenvironment during clonal evolution in MDS and AML and involve use of transgenic and transplantation mouse models as well as primary human bone marrow samples.
Our projects are funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, SFB 1243), the Jose Carreras Leukämiestiftung (EPISTROMA) and the German Cancer Consortium (Deutsches Konsortium für Translationale Krebsforschung, DKTK). We have close collaborations with researchers at the Department of Mathematics for computational modeling of stem cell hierarchies and with the Josep Carreras Research Institute in Barcelona for research projects on epigenetics, chromatin, metabolism and cell fate.