DR DYLAN STAVISH
An issue in the translation of in vitro human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) into clinically viable treatments has been their genetic stability in culture. Unfortunately, during prolonged cell culture, hPSC can acquire genetic changes, these changes however are not entirely random and some are commonly seen. These recurrent changes rise to prevalence by having a selective advantage over their wildtype counter parts and some share similarities with those seen in embryonal carcinomas, highlighting the danger in their possible therapeutic use. However, these genetic variants and their implications on stem cell characteristics have yet to be fully investigated.
I have been a part of the CSCB family for many years now allowing me to build up a strong knowledge base of pluripotent stem cell characteristics. My current work focuses on the implications of genetic variants on these characteristics. Using RNA-sequencing, timelapse microscopy, apoptotic priming and other techniques we can assess the effect of certain common genetic changes on stem cell behaviour allowing us to link certain phenotypes to particular genetic changes, perhaps highlighting driver genes. I am also interested in where the selective advantage of these cells arises and how the media and matrix combination in which we grow cells can impact not only their selective advantage but possible also the initial mutation occurrence. I hope my work can help in the optimisation of safer culture conditions of hPSC for regenerative medicine.