Doctoral fellow, laboratory of Tom Taghon (Department of Diagnostic Sciences), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent
Principal investigator: prof. Tom Taghon (PhD)
Hematopoiesis is a strictly regulated process governed by a variety of signaling cascades and transcriptional regulatory networks. Dysregulation of this process can lead to human disease such as severe combined immunodeficiency or the development of leukemia. Research in our lab is mainly focused on the early development of human T cells, which play a pivotal role in our immune system.
My research is focused on the transcription factor GATA3, a key regulator of commitment of hematopoietic progenitor cells to the T cell lineage. Interestingly, recurrent mutations have been reported in GATA3 in patients with early T-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ETP-ALL), which is a subtype of T-ALL. So far, it is still unclear whether GATA3 acts as a tumor suppressor or an oncogene in this context and therefore I aim to unravel through which molecular mechanisms mutant GATA3 disturbs normal T cell development and contributes to leukemogenesis. Since similar mutations in GATA3 have been described in other cancer types, including breast and colon cancer, we expect these findings to be valuable for other cancer entities as well.