The Doble Lab logo was inspired by a stem cell that has recently undergone a division to yield two new cells, as viewed through a fluorescence microscope. The shape of the cell on the right resembles the letter D. Within the D, the letter L lines up with the midline of the two newly generated cells. The pale blue color of the central nuclei is similar to that obtained with a commonly used fluorescent DNA dye, DAPI, and the blue color of the cytosol suggests a blue-fluorescent protein-tagged cytosolic marker. Variations on this color scheme will pop up on the website every now and then. I'm also working on alternate logos that may replace the current one, which is a simplified version of the one above.
The Doble lab studies the signaling networks within stem cells that control their amazing properties. We are especially interested in key developmental signaling pathways essential for stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. Malfunctions in these pathways underlie many human diseases including numerous cancers and developmental disorders.
Our primary model systems employ pluripotent stem cells that we manipulate using methods described in the sections below. We are also studying cellular models of the Wnt subgroup of a type of childhood brain cancer called medulloblastoma. We grow Wnt-activated medulloblastoma cells from mouse tumours as tumour spheres in culture. Wnt-activated medulloblastoma is very rare, and human model systems are lacking. We are developing human Wnt-activated cell model systems from induced pluripotent stem cells.
We use a variety of techniques to assess the ability of pluripotent stem cells to differentiate and self-renew. One striking example is the formation of embryoid bodies, which spontaneously generate cardiomyocytes that you can observe contracting in the video.