During normal mammalian development, the hematopoietic system undergoes controlled maturation. Driving this process, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) execute dramatic transitions in their defining characteristics. These include changes in self-renewal, lineage biases, repertoires of differentiated cells produced, and possibly even potency. This process is of critical significance in the biology of age-specific blood disorders, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, normal aging, and efforts to engineer of patient- specific hematopoietic cells for use in therapy. Our work and that of others has implicated the highly conserved heterochronic Lin28b/let-7 microRNA regulatory axis in specification of the developmental state of HSPCs. We have shown that repression of the biogenesis of let-7 microRNAs by Lin28b defines erythroid- biased fetal myeloerythroid progenitor output, while downregulation of Lin28b expression during development to adulthood permits the robust myelopoiesis characteristic of the mature bone marrow. The Preliminary Data in this proposal supports the emerging paradigm that individual CMPs are imbued with a single lineage destiny at their genesis (i.e., unipotency) that is dictated by their transcriptional state. This proposal tests the hypothesis that during maturation of the hematopoietic system, populations of HSPCs evolve in their heterogeneous single cell composition in order to effect developmentally necessary changes in self-renewal, potency, and lineage restricting branch points; and that the Lin28b/let-7 axis plays a central role in regulating this process.
The Specific Aims of this proposal are to: 1) investigate the role of Lin28b/let-7 in regulating the changes in lineage potency that occur over developmental time in vivo; 2) directly connect the activity of the Lin28b/let-7 axis to lineage outcomes; and 3) evaluate the mechanisms by which Lin28b/let-7 modulates the gene regulatory networks that specify developmental state in HSPCs. I am currently a clinical fellow in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Boston Children's Hospital. I have proposed a five-year career development plan that will build upon the foundation of my clinical background in Pediatric Hematology as well as my prior research experience in developmental hematopoiesis to establish a career as an independent investigator/physician-scientist at a major academic center. Under the combined mentorship of Dr. George Q. Daley, M.D., Ph.D. and Dr. Benjamin L. Ebert, M.D., Ph.D., established leaders in research in normal and diseased hematology, I propose rigorous investigation into the fundamental mechanisms underlying normal developmental maturation of hematopoietic progenitor cells. The K08 award will provide me with the necessary protected time to execute the proposed studies and career development plan within the five-year time frame.

Public Health Relevance

During normal development, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells undergo dramatic transitions in self- renewal, potency, and lineage bias, and understanding the mechanisms underlying such changes are critical to research in age-specific blood disorders. I previously found that the heterochronic Lin28b/let-7 signaling node functions as a key specifier of the developmental state of myeloerythroid progenitor cells, likely through regulation of the transcriptional programs that control lineage commitment. This proposal aims to better understand the mechanisms by which Lin28b/let-7 defines the developmental state of hematopoietic progenitor cells by investigating progenitor maturation at the single cell level.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases D Subcommittee (DDK)
Program Officer
Bishop, Terry Rogers
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Boston Children's Hospital
United States
Zip Code
Lummertz da Rocha, Edroaldo; Rowe, R Grant; Lundin, Vanessa et al. (2018) Reconstruction of complex single-cell trajectories using CellRouter. Nat Commun 9:892