We’re excited to welcome our newest lab member: Dr. Rowan Karvas, who completed her graduate work with Professor Michael Roberts and Dr. Laura Schulz at the University of Missouri. Please see our Team page for more information.
Our paper examining the trophoblast potential of distinct human stem cell states was published today in eLife. We report that naive, but not primed, human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) can directly differentiate into trophoblast stem cells (TSC). The derivation of TSCs from naïve hPSCs presents a new model system to elucidate early mechanisms governing placental development and associated pathologies. This study was a collaboration with the Solnica-Krezel, Wang and Kommagani labs at Washington University.
Image of naive hPSC-derived human TSCs stained with a KRT7 antibody by Chen Dong (Theunissen Lab).
Thor Theunissen was awarded an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. The award supports unusually innovative research from early-career investigators who are within 10 years of their final degrees or clinical residencies. See the press release related to this award here.
We were awarded a Small Grant from the McDonnell Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology for a joint project together with Joseph Corbo’s laboratory, entitled “Evaluating the differentiation potential of naive human pluripotent stem cells and their suitability for testing a reprogramming-based therapy for blindness.”
We are excited to contribute to a new study from the Trono laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland (Pontis et al., Cell Stem Cell, 2019). This work describes how hominoid-specific transposable elements control transcription in naive hESCs and during embryonic genome activation, activating evolutionarily recent KRAB zinc-finger proteins that in turn ‘tame’ the activity of the transposons.