Thalia Papayannopoulou, MD
My major research interests though the years have been: Erythroid differentiation and globin gene regulation; globin gene vs. switching during ontogeny and the manipulation of globin gene expression in adult life; hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell trafficking and function; and homing and mobilization mechanisms. More recent research involves studies on integrin family members (beta-1) as they guide hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells in and out of the bone marrow, in concert with a large number of partners (chemokines/growth factor receptors and their ligands). Through a combination of approaches (using antibodies, small molecules, or creating conditional genetic models) we have uncovered that the alpha4/beta1 integrin (VLA-4) is one of the major players in the regulation of stem/progenitor cell trafficking. Knowledge acquired has clinical relevance for the manipulation of homing, mobilization and engraftment issues. The recent developments with iPS cells and the erythroid cells derived from them present new opportunities to pursue translational research in Heamoglobinopathies.