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Catherine Porcher

PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons)

Associate Professor of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology

Molecular dissection of blood cell fate determination

My research interests lie in cell fate mechanisms and, in particular, in the specification of blood stem cells during development.  I received my PhD from University of Paris VII, where I studied red blood cell differentiation through the regulation of genes involved in the haem biosynthetic pathway. I then joined the lab of Stuart Orkin at Harvard University for my post-doctoral training. There, I developed a broader interest in haematopoiesis and unveiled the essential function of the regulator SCL/TAL1 in the development of all blood lineages, placing it at the apex of the haematopoietic transcriptional hierarchy. In 1999, I joined the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit as a principal investigator.  

Currently, my group studies the developmental trajectory of the blood stem cell lineage from its specification in mesoderm through to production of blood cells using in vivo lineage tracing and single cell genomics/transcriptomics/imaging approaches. We also study the transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of the earliest events controlling blood specification through integration of molecular, biochemical, genetics and structural approaches. This work will lead to a better understanding of the fundamental biological processes underlying cell fate determination that, when corrupted, can lead to pathologies such as cancer. Our work will also contribute to the development of protocols supporting the generation of blood stem cells in vitro, thereby offering novel opportunities to treat inherited blood diseases.  

As a woman and mother of two, I am keen to support the career of young female scientists and chair the WIMM Diversity and Inclusion committee. I am also enrolled in the RDM mentoring scheme.

Key publications

Recent publications