UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and Research Center, Oakland
The research group of Dr. Kuypers, senior scientist at CHORI, studies aspects of membrane lipid biology and hemoglobinopathies. The plasma membrane lipid composition and organization, essential for the function of all plasma membranes, is maintained by a complex system of enzymatic and signal transduction pathways. The long-term goal of the Kuypers Laboratory is to define the molecular structure of the proteins involved, and how their interaction with each other and with their lipid environment determines membrane lipid organization.
These studies are applied to stem cells to better understand the plasma membrane lipid composition and organization of these cells, essential in proliferation and cell-cell interaction. Cord blood derived stem cells have proven to be a valuable source in the stem cell based cures for human disease. The limited availability of this resource has restricted its application. We have developed novel strategies to improve cord blood collection and are currently conducting an NIH funded multi-center clinical trial to test a novel cord blood collection protocol. In addition we have developed protocols aimed at increasing the total number of viable stem cells per cord blood collection. In recent studies we have shown that stable allochimerism can be achieved and graft versus host disease can be avoided in immunologically mismatched mice by infusing them with specially treated donor T-cells in a murine model of hemoglobinopathies (1). We are currently expanding these studies to further define the role of T-cells and immuno-reconstitution in this system. References 1. Kuypers, F. A., Watson, G., Sage, E., Walters, M. C., Hamrick, J., and Hearst, J. E. (2005) Ann N Y Acad Sci 1054, 214-222