The failure to regenerate tissues during aging due to loss of stem cell function causes major health problems. However, it is still unclear how stem cells fail to maintain their functions during aging and disease.
We discovered a new aspect of stem cell aging in vivo: cellular enlargement. We found that stem cells increase in size during aging and that this is causing their functional decline.
However, we are only beginning to understand how size impacts stem cell fitness and the physiological importance of this process remains unsolved.
How does stem cell enlargement drive their dysfunction?
We use molecular profiling and mouse models to identify the molecular mechanisms impairing fitness of large stem cells focusing particularly on metabolism.
Can we rejuvenate stem cells by modulating their size?
We aim to identify ways to rejuvenate stem cells by affecting their size. The goal of this project is to find ways how to improve stem cell function during aging and in disease.
Does dysregulation of stem cell size promote cancer?
We utilize blood stem cells from mice and humans to identify factors that facilitate leukemia in vivo and to investigate the underlying mechanisms.
The Lengefeld lab is now part of the Academy of Finland funded Centre of Excellence in Stem Cell Metabolism