Smith Group

Pluripotent stem cell biology

Pluripotency is the capacity of single cells to generate all cell types of the animal. This cellular plasticity is the foundation of mammalian development. In the embryo pluripotency is short-lived, but in vitro pluripotent stem cells may be propagated without limit. Pluripotent stem cells may remain in a naive undifferentiated state while retaining the ability to differentiate into multiple cell lineages including the germline. Our aims are:

  1. to understand the conditions required to capture pluripotency from the early embryo;
  2. to define the regulatory network that confers broad developmental competence;
  3. to elucidate and take control of the mechanisms that direct alternative cell fates.

Collaboration with bioengineers, biophysicists, bioinformaticians and computational modellers is embedded in our research.  Our main interest is fundamental understanding. In addition, however, we aim to provide robust pluripotent stem cell platforms for biomedical applications and bioindustry.