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Washington DC: NIH Lunch with Laura Kerosuo

The Caltech Alumni Association presents a lunch time talk with Laura Kerosuo from the Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Kerosuo was a post doctoral fellow in Marianne Bronner's lab at Caltech and recently joined NIDCR/NIH as a PI.

Dr. Laura Kerosuo’s lab focus is to answer “How is stemness regulated in neural crest cells?”

Lunch will be provided by the Caltech Alumni Association. The event is not an NIH-sponsored event, nor is it endorsed by the NIH.  The food and refreshments are not paid for with government funds.

Visitors will be required to show one (1) form of identification (a government-issued photo ID-driver’s license, passport, green card, etc.) and to state where you will be going (Bldg 30, Rm 117). Please make sure to register. Those that do not have an NIH badge will need to have their names provided to security beforehand. Please RSVP by March 4th at 5:00pm. For those without an NIH badge allow time to check in at the Gateway Center, located adjacent to the Medical Center Metro Station at the South Drive entrance to campus from Rockville Pike/Wisoncsin Avenue (Route 355).

Additional information will be provided in your email confirmation.

About Laura Kerosuo

Dr. Laura Kerosuo's lab focus is to answer "How is stemness regulated in neural crest cells?" The aim is to provide comprehensive picture of early neural crest development and better understand how neural crest-derived diseases are formed.

Dr. Laura Kerosuo received her PhD in stem cell biology from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She then continued as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology where she initiated her research on stem cell characteristics of the neural crest. Her postdoctoral work has demonstrated that neural crest cells, despite their transient nature, maintain a premigratory stem cell niche of self-renewing and pluripotent cells located in the dorsal neural tube. Dr. Kerosuo made this discovery by creating novel techniques such as developing crestospheres, an in vitro method to maintain neural crest stem cells in a self-renewing state. Furthermore, Dr. Kerosuo, in collaboration with biophysicists, developed Spatial Genomic Analysis, a smFISH-based multiplex transcriptome analysis that revealed a pluripotent stem cell niche embedded in the neural crest progenitor domain. By studying fate choices during early neural crest specification, she has also proposed a hypothesis for onset of neuroblastoma at a much earlier time point than previously assumed. Based on these findings, Dr. Kerosuo established her lab at NIDCR in July 2018 and continues to pursue research on the molecular mechanisms of neural crest stemness.

Research Interests

The neural crest is a transient stem cell population originating early in all developing vertebrate embryos. It gives rise to various cell types ranging from melanocytes and peripheral ganglia to cells contributing to the formation of the craniofacial skeleton. About 10% of human birth defects are neural crest-derived, which include craniofacial malformations such as cleft palate, CHARGE, DiGeorge and other syndromes, as well as cancers including melanoma and neuroblastoma. While very little is known about the regulation of stem cell characteristics of these clinically relevant cells, they possess high expectations for usage for tissue engineering purposes. The Kerosuo lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms behind neural crest stemness maintenance, how fate choices are made, the extent of heterogeneity in neural crest potential, and whether our findings on normal developmental processes apply to neural crest-derived birth defects and cancer. By using a combination of biochemical, cell, and molecular techniques on human embryonic stem cell-derived neural crest cells, together with single cell and live imaging in vivo data on chicken and mouse embryos, the Kerosuo lab aims to provide a comprehensive picture of early neural crest development and better understand how neural crest-derived diseases are formed.