NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellow Discovery May Help Modulate Immune System
NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellow Larry Luchsinger, PhD, studies the energy producing centers of the cell, mitochondria, to better understand the cells that produce blood cells, hematopoietic stem cells, and blood-based diseases. Dr. Luchsinger, Columbia University Medical Center, published a paper in Nature on his work which investigates the expression of a protein, mitofusin 2, and its affect on the blood cells that form from hematopoietic stem cells. His research showed that this mitochondria-associating protein is necessary to maintain the stem cell properties of hematopoietic stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells can mature into lymphoid cells, specific immune system cells, or myeloid cells, which include white and red blood cells. By changing the expression of the mitofusin 2 protein, Dr. Luchsinger showed that hematopoietic stem cells would favor differentiating into lymphoid cells. For researchers, this means that after transplanting hematopoietic stem cells, such as bone marrow stem cells, one day they might be able to guide cells to mature into immune system cells.