Lab Spotlight: Lancrin Lab

Each month, Simply Blood spotlights a lab focused on the research of basic hematology, immunology, stem cell research, cell and gene therapy, and other related aspects. Get to know these different labs around the world! This month, we are featuring the Lancrin Lab at EMBL Rome - Epigenetics and Neurobiology Unit.

1. How long have you had your lab?
I have started my lab about 8 years ago.

2. How many members make up your lab?  Students/postdocs?
I have seven lab members including one lab manager, one PhD student, two Master students and three research assistants.

3. What is the major research theme of your lab?
Our major research goal is to understand our hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are produced during embryonic development. This happens through a process called endothelial to hematopoietic transition (EHT) when HSCs emerge from endothelial cells, the building blocks of blood vessels. This moment is critical because this is when our pool of HSCs is established for the rest of our life.

4. What is the most exciting project in your lab right now?
Our most exciting project is to use single-cell RNA sequencing to decipher the gene regulatory networks responsible for the HSCs development during embryogenesis.

5. What's the biggest accomplishment your lab has had recently?
Our biggest accomplishment was last year in a study in which we investigated the role of key transcription factors involved in the generation of HSCs through EHT. We used advanced computational analysis to study at the single-cell level the impact of these transcription factors on gene regulatory networks during EHT. We showed how the balance of activity between competing transcription factors could shift the cell fate decision occurring when endothelial cells change into HSCs (Bergiers et al, eLife 2018,

6. What is the key to running a successful lab?
The key to run a successful lab is to hire the right people. Being able to identify a good candidate is crucial. This is not only a question of CV but it is very important to recruit someone who is very motivated.

7. What advice do you have for new investigators just opening their lab?
My advice for new investigators is not to rush the recruitment of lab members. When the lab starts, one is eager to get going and hire as fast as possible. However, it is better to take the time to select the right people because having the wrong person in the lab could be a serious setback.

8. Does your lab attend the ISEH annual meeting?
Yes but not all the lab comes. Since my group is based in Europe and most of ISEH meetings are oversea, I send PhD students or postdocs when they have a story ready to share with our field.

9. What is the most beneficial aspect of ISEH membership for your lab?
ISEH is a very open organization where young scientists can easily interact with more senior researchers. In addition, there is a friendly atmosphere during the meetings, which further facilitates interaction. In summary, the ISEH is really great for networking.

10. How do members of your lab celebrate accomplishments?
We go to a nice restaurant and have a meal together.

Christophe Lancrin, PhD
Group Leader
Adriano Buzzati-Traverso Campus
Via Ramarini 32
00015 Monterotondo (RM), Italy


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