Education and Professional Standing
PhD Cell and Developmental Biology, Sheffield University (UK) 2003
Dr. Draper’s research program is concerned with the genetic mechanisms that govern lineage determination within human ES cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. He has recently highlighted functional differences between mouse and human ES cell ability to respond to signaling initiated by ectopic expression of the homeobox transcription factor Cdx2. Dr. Draper was also involved in the generation of endoderm progenitors from human ES cells by constitutive expression of Sox transcription factors.
His research at McMaster will seek to expand our understanding of the mechanisms that guide the differentiation of human ES and iPS cells along discrete lineages into tissue that are relevant to clinical therapies and drug discovery. He will do this by addressing these research aims:
1. Investigate the sufficiency of key transcription factors to alter fate in human ES and iPS cells.
Dr Draper will capitalize on his previous investigation of transcription factor over expression in human ES cells to assay the sufficiency of a set of candidate gene that have met stringent lineage determining criteria using inducible and reversible gene expression technologies. Particular attention will be paid to genes capable of influencing differentiation toward an endoderm fate.
2. Characterize distinct subsets of differentiating lineage progenitors.
Currently little is understood about the genetic profile of most lineages that differentiate from human ES cells. Reporter systems utilizing fluorescent proteins under the control of endogenous gene promoters offer the opportunity to map and track specific cell types. Dr Draper is generating such reporters in human ES cells linked to lineage specific genes that will enable a more thorough understanding of the properties of a range of precursor cell types. These reporter cell lines will also facilitating purification of these marked cells from within a background of non-specific differentiation.
Dr. Draper is involved in the Undergraduate Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Program and also teaches Graduate level biochemistry.
Post-Doctoral Fellows: Carlos Pilquil, Maria Ledran
Graduate Students: Ashley Calder