- Professor of Biochemistry
- Adjunct Professor of Biology
- Adjunct Professor of Genome Sciences
Adult stem cell aging
Dr. Ruohola-Baker’s laboratory studies the molecules and cellular properties that are required for stem cell states and their differentiation capacity. During the recent years the laboratory has shown that microRNAs and the HIF pathway play key roles in regulating adult and embryonic stem cell self-renewal in model organisms as well as in hESC and iPSC. The laboratory presently works on three questions: 1) what are the metabolic determinants of stem cells, 2) what are the key microRNAs that induce cardiomyocyte maturation and 3) what is the molecular mechanism of stem cell protection against senescence or apoptosis. In each of these areas of study the mechanisms that govern the regenerative competence of aging adult stem cells still remain unclear. To fully understand mechanisms governing healthy organismal aging, it is critical to understand how aging adult stem cells respond to regenerative stimuli and environmental challenges in order to repair damaged tissue.