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Blood Cell Formation Lab

About the lab

We investigate how blood-forming stem cells are produced in the body, and how these stem cells drive the formation of important mature blood cells.

We are particularly passionate about understanding how platelets (the cells responsible for preventing bleeding) are made in the body and how this process can be copied in the laboratory to enable on-demand platelet production in patients.

This clinical for platelets is inadequately and precariously met through voluntary blood donations. Due to supply constraints, the use of platelets is triaged for those patients with life threatening conditions but this therapeutic should be available to all that need it. The most cutting-edge methods for platelet manufacture only yield a tiny fraction of the platelets that we know are possible. This precludes feasible laboratory-based platelet manufacture.

The Taoudi laboratory recently discovered how our bodies naturally produce platelets, this is a process we call membrane budding. By instructing megakaryocytes to undergo membrane budding in the laboratory we will be able to overcome the current scalability problem. To accomplish this we develop critical new knowledge that defines the rules of healthy platelet production in the body, and we investigate how to apply this knowledge to enable useful laboratory-based platelet production.

Our mission

Our mission is to enable on-demand platelet supply by revolutionising our understanding of how blood production is controlled.

By understanding the fundamental biology of blood production (such as stem cell formation and platelet production) we aim to make the supply of safe and high-quality blood products tailored to conditions such as chemotherapy-induced platelet loss (which causes a potentially life-threatening pause in the treatment of cancer patients) or for the treatment of newborn babies who are at risk of stroke.

Impact

Our recent discoveries include:

  • defining the cellular ancestry of early blood production. Using cutting edge single-cell technologies we defined how the first blood cells are produced during embryogenesis.
  • discovery of the major pathway of in vivo platelet biogenesis. Using state-of-the-art quantitative imaging technologies, we discovered how the body produces platelets. We aim to leverage this disruptive discovery to revolutionize laboratory-based platelet production.
  • defining the role of platelets for health brain development. We established that platelets are essential to prevent brain bleeds in the womb and in early neonatal life.

Lab research projects

Interested in supporting our research?

Your support will help WEHI’s researchers make discoveries and find treatments to ensure healthier, longer lives for you and your loved ones.

Contact our friendly team to find out how you can help.