Elucidating genetic programs in hematopoietic stem cells

Name of applicant

Rasmus O. Bak


Aarhus University


DKK 5,000,000



Type of grant

Semper Ardens: Accelerate


Blood stem cells constitute a rare cell type in the bone marrow and possess two key functions: the capacity to self-renew throughout the life span of a human and the ability to produce a continuous supply of all mature blood and immune cells. Consequently, these unique stem cells can be transplanted from one person to another, where they can repopulate the blood system with new cells for the entire life of the recipient. Many features of blood stem cells are still not understood, including the genetic mechanisms that control their enormous stem cell potential, which will be investigated in this project.


With the numerous diseases that affect the blood system, including genetic diseases and cancer, blood stem cells have major implications in medicine. A greater understanding of the genetic programs that regulate blood stem cells could unravel novel mechanisms for stem cell maintenance and reveal new druggable targets for therapeutic intervention in multiple blood disorders.


CRISPR/Cas is a relatively new tool to make precise changes to the human genome, and its range of applications is continually increasing. In this research project, we will employ advanced CRISPR/Cas technologies for complex genetic engineering to extend the knowledge on blood stem cell potential.

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