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ISEH News: Membership Updates

Hematology 101 - Now Available!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kim Eskew
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Hematology 101

What is Hematology 101?

It’s pretty much what it says on the tin.  World-leading experts have been recruited from within the ISEH membership to help articulate the major themes in hematology and to review the most important tools used to define stem cells and their progeny.  The goal is to provide a permanent and dynamic resource – providing a foundation on which future researchers can build.   All slides and videos are available here and I have summarized the first set of course modules below.   We hope to expand this course over the coming years, and will draw on the support and enthusiasm of ISEH members to make it happen.



Overview of the field
The series starts with a lovely tale from Dr. David Scadden reaching back to the time of the ancients through to the present day.  Dr. Scadden charts the story of blood from when it was to be “spilled for the gods” with a mystical and magical quality that drove life and weaves important discoveries throughout the journey, showing us how long these major concepts have really been arousing curiosity.

Module 1:  What is a blood stem cell and how do we measure it?

Mouse stem and progenitor cells
Dr. Connie Eaves is long known for her passionate support of robust stem cell assays.  In this video, Dr. Eaves charts the history of assay development in mouse HSC biology, gives a wonderful description of major analytical tools such as limiting dilution assays, and ends with her lab’s efforts to disentangle the functional and molecular heterogeneity of mouse blood stem cells.

Human stem and progenitor cells
In this presentation, Dr. Elisa Laurenti emphasizes the importance of studying human stem cells directly.  Dr. Laurenti reminds us that humans and mice are quite different - different sizes, lifespans, and habits.  In this presentation, she gives a broad overview of assays to detect human stem cell function and charts critical developments in the xenograft assay and its improved HSC detection.  

Module 2:  The lifelong journey of HSCs

How are the first HSCs generated during development?
Dr. Katrin Otterbach delivers an impressively concise yet broad description of the field of HSC emergence.  Starting with a crash course in developmental biology, Dr. Ottersbach highlights the key differences between neonatal and adult stem cells – their different niches, their different functional capacities.  One of the best aspects of this presentation is Dr. Ottersbach’s running dialogue about where strong evidence exists for a claim and where many things still need to be worked out before concepts enter the textbooks.  

How do HSCs age?
Dr. Gerald de Haan begins with a paradox – if HSCs have self-renewal, then how and why does our blood system age?  If blood cell production ultimately derives from old HSCs, then understanding how HSCs age is of critical importance.  Dr. De Haan catalogues the studies that have launched the field of HSC aging, sprinkles in some cutting edge technology in the form of DNA barcoding, and ends with a nice summary of the different ways that HSCs can age both genetically and epigenetically.
To access the Hematology 101 course, visit

David Kent, PhD
ISEH Publications Committee
Group Leader
Cambridge Stem Cell Institute
Cambridge, UK

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