The Hilton laboratory studies the development and function of blood cells. We aim to identify genes and molecular pathways that are important in regulating normal blood cell production and understand the changes that lead to blood cell disorders such as inflammatory diseases, leukaemia and lymphoma.
Some of our fundamental research breakthroughs are being exploited to improve the body’s immune response to cancer.
We take a multidisciplinary approach combining cell biology, physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics and computational biology to understand the blood cell system and its individual lineages. We also develop software that assists biologist in visualising and interacting with large data sets.
Our laboratory has made available its work on gene expression in blood cells through our public resouce, Haemosphere. It is available at www.haemosphere.org It provides transcriptional information for a broad spectrum of cells in both mice and humans.
Donated platelets are difficult to store for transplantation, as they easily become activated and have a short life span. We would like to be able to produce platelets in vitro to ensure access to supply, but megakaryocytes are difficult to produce efficiently outside the body.
We have conducted screens to identify novel regulators of signalling during megakaryocyte commitment, and are currently validating the potential candidates.
All vertebrates have some common tasks that they need to carry out – circulating oxygen around their bodies; maintaining hemostasis after injury; defense against infection, and they use their blood cells to carry out their key functions. We are interested in what is conserved in this process and what is unique about mammalian and human haematopoisis.
Enquiries from budding researchers, haematologists and computational gurus interested in entering medical research are encouraged.