Talk Title: Exploring the boundaries of transcription factor-mediated reprogramming
One of the greatest promises of regenerative medicine is the theoretical ability to reprogram any cell type of the body into any other cell type. Classically two different approaches have been used for the generation patient-specific cell types: 1) Induced pluripotency, which entails the reprogramming of adult cells into a pluripotent state (iPS cells), follow by the differentiation of the iPS cells to the desired target cell type and 2) Transdifferentiation, which is the reprogramming of one adult cell type to another without traversing through the embryonic pluripotent state (ESC/iPS). Yet despite the great potential of these reprogramming approaches for cell-replacement therapies and diseases modelling, major hurdles delaying the clinical delivery of this promise are the fact that reprogramming processes (transdifferentiation and induced pluripotency) have inefficient discovery rates, are not well understood, and that differentiation of iPS cells into fully functional somatic cells is still a challenge. Therefore, only by addressing these problems at the root is how we will be able to unleash the true potential of these TF reprogramming based technologies. During my presentation, we will explore how unveiling the molecular mechanisms of these reprogramming processes, will in turn, push the limits of these technologies to generate new regenerative medicine strategies.
Associate Professor Jose M. Polo, Group Leader, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University
Associate Professor Jose M. Polo leads the Reprogramming and Epigenetics Laboratory. The laboratory is interested in the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms that govern pluripotency and the reprogramming of somatic cells into inducedpluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
Being able to specifically reprogram a mature cellular program into a pluripotent state and from there back into another particular cellular program provides a unique tool to dissect the molecular and cellular events that permit the conversion of one cell type to another. Jose and his lab use bioinformatics extensively to analyse the transcriptomic and epigenetic changes that occur as cells change type.