Ruohola-Baker laboratory is interested in understanding the molecules and cellular properties that are required for stemness both in normal and pathological situations. During the recent years the lab has shown that microRNAs and HIF pathway play key roles in regulating adult and embryonic stem cell self-renewal in model organisms as well as in hESC and iPSC. Through unbiased Drosophila interaction screen they discovered that increasing the sphingosine-
1-phosphate pathway (S1P) has therapeutic effects on muscular dystrophies. Increased S1P levels also show a beneficial effect in adult stem cell based muscle regeneration in mdx, the mouse DMD model. The lab is now in the process of analyzing the function of metabolomic differences in stem cells, as well as microRNAs function in maturation and regeneration. These studies are directed towards a long-term goal of stem cell and small molecule based therapeutics.