PhD Scholarship Top-up student profile: Eric Qiao

Characterising the origins, functions and identity of mesenchymal stem cells at sites of embryonic haematopoiesis

Award:  Eric is a recipient of a three-year PhD Scholarship Top-up

Supervisor: Dr John Pimanda, Stem Cell Group Team Leader, Lowy Cancer Research Centre

We are aiming to identify the origins, functions in embryo development and the molecular identities of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) using various transgenic mice and lineage tracking techniques. We will sort out the cell population of interest and investigate their ability for self-renewal and potential for multi-lineage differentiation. Once we have identified the true surface markers for MSCs, we will carve out the population and unravel their true molecular signatures by transcriptome study and MBD sequencing analysis.

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What translational link does your research have to cancer care?

Mesenchymal stem cells have been identified in multiple adult organs and are believed to play a major role in tissue repair in the adult. My research will provide the unique knowledge required to identify and understand the function of MSCs in developmental haematopoiesis. The outcomes from my research can be used in the clinic to treat haematological disorders, such as leukemia. MSCs also have the potential to complement bone marrow transplantation therapies and be used to regenerate tissues in their own right.

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“The TCRN delivers the latest news to keep me up-to-date with upcoming workshops and conferences. It also provides early researchers like myself, a PhD student, opportunities for professional development. I was fortunate to be awarded one of five PhD Scholarship Top-up Awards in Semester 2 2012, which will greatly assist with my living expenses during my studies. With the assistance from TCRN, I can focus more on my research topic and achieve more from my PhD.”

Eric commenced his first year of PhD studies at the Prince of Wales Clinical School, UNSW in 2012. 

TCRN PhD Scholarship Top-up awardee Eric Qiao