Research and principal investigators

The Centre for Stem Cell Biology conducts research in five interdisciplinary themes.

A close up of a pipette

Our research is focused on developing the basic biology and technology that will underpin the use of human Pluripotent Stem Cells for applications in medicine, whether for a direct use in regenerative medicine, or for disease modelling, drug discovery and toxicology.

Co-directed by Professors Peter Andrews and Harry Moore, our research exploits many aspects of molecular cell biology and developmental biology.

Stem cells and cancer

Principal Investigator and Director: Professor Peter Andrews

The appearance of genetically abnormal cells, raising from pluripotent stem cells, in culture offers a unique model to study the initiation and progression of cancer cells.

These models will allow the identification of critical genes which are responsible for the cancer-like properties of cells and may lead to novel strategies and therapies for treatment.

The biology of human otic stem cells

Principal Investigator: Professor Marcelo Rivolta

Our laboratory studies the behavior of human auditory stem cells and is trying to develop a therapeutic approach to treat hearing loss.

We have identified and isolated a population of multipotent otic stem cells from the human fetal cochlea and established them as cell lines.

We have devised ways of directing differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into auditory phenotypes and also working with adult populations such as induced-pluripotency and bone marrow stem cells.

The potential of auditory stem cells to repair the damaged cochlea is tested in vivo by transplantation experiments using mammalian models for hearing loss and we are also exploring their use in combination with cochlear implants.

Genetic stability of stem cells

Principal Investigator: Dr Ivana Barbaric

Our laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms that control pluripotent stem cell self-renewal and commitment to differentiation.

In particular, we investigate the molecular basis of aneuploidy in hPSCs and study how such genetic changes may perturb the normal control of stem cell fate and enhance their ability to grow in culture.

Stem cell potency in development and disease

Principal Investigator: Dr Anestis Tsakiridis

Our laboratory aims to understand how cells adopt different identities during embryonic development and disease.

This knowledge is essential for the precise control of cell behavior and the generation of clinically relevant cell populations from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs).

We are particularly interested in dissecting the events leading to the “birth” of the cell types which make up the posterior (thoracic and lumbosacral) spinal cord.

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.