Research Themes

DanStem hosts 12 research groups and four affiliated research groups within the Program for Translational Hematology (PTH). We  grouped the research programs into five groups: three of them are fundamental research themes and the other two are translational themes.

While basic research spans a continuum of scientific areas from early embryonic development to disease in later life, the research groups work synergistically in these five research themes.

Research Groups by their primary theme:

All groups are also involved secondarily in other research themes

Theme I:  Pluripotent Stem Cells and Differentiation

The Brickman Group focuses on understanding the transcriptional basis of PSC potency and early differentiation. The group uses early ESC differentiation as a model to understand basic mechanisms of gene regulation and seeks to understand lineage specification in the endoderm.

The Ferretti Group: generates in vivo and in vitro models of the mesoderm to understand mesoderm differentiation. The group also focuses on regulatory gene networks downstream of PBX1, a key mesoderm regulatory factor.

The Kirkeby Group: studies how the diversity of cell types and progenitors is specified in the human neural tube (the ectoderm germ layer). The group uses PSCs as a model for human neural development and exploits microfluidics to generate signaling gradients to fine- tune cell-type specification.

Theme II:  Organogenesis

The Grapin-Botton Group: investigates the impact of cell and organ architecture on cellular fate choices and how single cells collaborate to generate an organ. These studies are intended to provide insight into human afflictions that impair pancreas development.

The Serup Group: studies the integration of Notch signaling and lineage-specific transcription factors in the regulation of cell fate. the architecture of regulatory gene networks controlled by Notch signaling, and the biological significance of oscillatory gene expression of Notch pathway components and target genes.

The Ober Group: studies the formation of a functional liver in the embryo under normal conditions and after injury. The group aims to determine the self-organizing principles coordinating cell behavior and interactions of differentiating progenitors that drive tissue morphogenesis, including the addition of new cells.

The Sedzinski Group: investigates the general principles underlying epithelial homeostasis. The group is trying to determine both the mechanics and molecular regulation of epithelial cell renewal from stem cells, and hopes to provide new insights into the treatment of epithelial pathologies associated with defective tissue homeostasis.

The Semb Group: studies the linking of organ morphogenesis to cell fate decisions, and vice versa, on a cellular and molecular level.

Theme III:  Adult Stem Cells

The Arnes Group: investigates how molecular determinants of cellular identity, particularly non-coding RNAs, regulate the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer.

The Helin Group: studies the molecular mechanisms that regulate transcription, cell identity, and cancer to develop novel therapies for cancer treatment.

The Jensen Group: examines how stem cell fate is controlled at the molecular level during development, tissue homeostasis, and regeneration, as well as in disease.

The Petersen Group: strives to dissect stem cell hierarchies in the in the normal human breast and in breast cancer to identify the cell of origin in different breast cancer subtypes.

The Porse Group: studies the gene regulatory processes governing the behavior of HSCs in normal hematopoiesis and of leukemic stem cells in AML.

Theme IV:  Program for Translational Diabetes

The Semb Group: studies the linking of organ morphogenesis to cell fate decisions, and vice versa, on a cellular and molecular level.

The program aims to initiate new strategies for bringing advanced stem cell-derived therapy to a broad population of type 1 diabetes patients, through a plan for scalable engineering of human pluripotent stem cell-derived pancreatic islet-like cellular grafts for future type 1 diabetes cell therapy trials.

Theme V:  Program for Translational Hematology (PTH)

The Program aims to improve the immediate and long-term outcome for blood cancer patients by coordinating and strengthening ongoing blood cancer research into a program pursuing research questions and integrating results from bench-to-bedside and bedside-to-bench. The PTH will optimize the use of already approved drugs, identify new targets for therapy, develop novel therapies, test potential novel drugs in pre-clinical models, and collaborate with pharmaceutical companies on developing new drugs and test these and other novel drugs in Phase I-II clinical trials.

The Helin Group: studies the molecular mechanisms that regulate transcription, cell identity, and cancer to develop novel therapies for cancer treatment.

The Porse Group: studies the gene regulatory processes governing the behavior of HSCs in normal hematopoiesis and of leukemic stem cells in AML.

The Grønbæk Group: studies clonal hematopoiesis and MDS, focusing specifically on clonal evolution, epigenetics, and development of clinical trials.

The Wennerberg Group: uses drug response profiling of primary patient tumor material to uncover novel treatment avenues.

The Theilgaard-Mönch Group: uses a variety of omics approaches to uncover novel pathways to be targeted in AML, and which are subsequently functionally validated.

The Won Group: integrates large-scale biological datasets in an attempt to understand cell-type- specific and spatiotemporal regulation of gene expression.