Research in the Hitchcock Lab revolves around the study of a receptor protein, MPL, which is found on the surface of cells that give rise to platelets, a key component of blood.
Blood cell production (haematopoiesis) is tightly regulated by a number of different factors to ensure that the numbers of circulating blood cells are maintained within a healthy range. Our lab is interested in the molecular mechanisms through which MPL receives and transmits signals in healthy cells, and how genetic mutations in MPL and its associated proteins cause diseases such as blood cancers and vascular complications. We are also interested in the mechanisms whereby infectious diseases can lead to dysregulation of blood cell production.
Image credit: Joanna Greenman. Megakaryocytes (large blood stem cells that produce platelets, yellow) and macrophages (a type of white blood cell, red) in healthy bone marrow.
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