Fellowship Projects

2018 – 2020 Funded Post-Doctoral Fellowship Projects

Discovering novel regulators of human totipotent stem cells.

Tatsuya Yamakawa, The Hospital for Sick Children ($150,000 for 3 years)
Supervisor: Janet Rossant

The advent of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) has been a major breakthrough in understanding human development, modeling disease and developing new stem cell therapies. However, hPSCs are pluripotent not totipotent. Only the zygote and early stage blastomeres can be defined as totipotency as individual blastomeres have the ability to make all lineages including all three germ layers as well as the extraembryonic trophoblast and yolk sac, a property pluripotent stem cells do not have. The mechanisms underlying the molecular regulation of totipotency in the embryo remains largely unknown, especially in humans. There have been recent attempts to derive totipotent stem cells in both mice and humans. However, none have fully replicated the properties of the early totipotent embryonic cells and many attempts to make totipotent cells have tried to translate information from the mouse onto the human. Given the known differences between mouse and human in both timing and molecular details during preimplantation development, it is not surprising that previous studies have failed to make true human totipotent cells. This research project will use molecular information directly from the totipotent stages of human development to develop a screen for factors that can drive totipotent transformation from hPSCs. Establishment of human totipotent stem cells based on developmental knowledge will provide new insights into the totipotent state in human development and open up new possibilities in modeling human infertility and pregnancy problems.

2016 – 2019 Fellowships

Local ON/OFF control of tolerance toward allograft cell transplants

Jeffrey Harding, Lunenfeld-Tannenbaum Research Institute
Supervisor: Andras Nagy

Dissecting the role of Notch signaling during the transition from HE to HSC

Vladimir Manchev, University Health Network
Supervisor: Gordon Keller

2017-2019 (co-funded by Medicine by Design):

Rescuing vision in models of retinal degeneration
Project Leader: Arturo Ortin-Martinez, University Health Network (Valerie Wallace lab)

Developing an immune-cell approach to cardiac regeneration
Project Leader: Yiming Wang, University Health Network (Slava Epelman lab)

Other Current Funding:

Disease Teams

New Ideas Grants