Staff – University of Copenhagen

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William Hamilton

William Hamilton

Assistant professor

I have worked in developmental biology for over a decade, since my undergraduate project in early zebrafish development.  During my PhD I began work to readdress the roll of ERK signaling in multilineage differentiation in mouse ESCs. It had been through to be essential for differentiation to all somatic lineages based on the inability of embryo-derived Erk2 knockout lines to differentiate in vitro. I was able to show that this phenotype was due non-targeted defects in these cell lines, and showed, by generating newly targeted knockout lines, that Erk2 is dispensable for neural, mesoderm, and endoderm differentiation. Upon moving to Copenhagen I further clarified the role of this fundamental signaling pathway in ESC biology, and showed mechanistically, how it interacts with the PrE gene regulatory network. Taken together, both of these studies have redefined how we view the interaction between signaling, and self-renewal in ESCs and have formed a platform for further study.  As a biochemist working in developmental biology I have tried to focus on the mechanisms by which protein interaction networks are regulated in response to external queues, and to extrapolate these findings to in vivo models. I am fortunate to have excellent collaborations with biochemists in the Center for Protein Research here at Copenhagen University, as well as mathematical modelers, both here in Copenhagen at the Niels Bohr Institute as well as at Weizman Institute for Science, Israel.

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