Stem Cell Biology
The differentiation of stem cells into the various cell types is critical to the development and maintenance of healthy tissues. Oxford is home to researchers studying how the fate of cells is controlled for tissue homeostasis, and how its dysfunction drives disease. Cancer researchers are seeking to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate the formation of cancer stem cells (CSCs), and their contribution to tumour behaviour. Like normal stem cells, CSCs are able to self-renew and produce differentiated progeny. Unlike normal stem cells, they do this in an uncontrolled way that results in the formation of malfunctioning tissues and organs. Understanding how normal stem cells function will be key to understanding how CSCs give rise to tumours, metastases, and why they are resistant to therapies.