Dr. Hanna Mikkola

Dr. Hanna Mikkola, member of the UCLA Eli & Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Research and an associate professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology in the life sciences has been named the 2013 recipient of the McCullough and Till Award by the Society for Hematology and Stem Cells, also known as the ISEH.

Established in 2004 in honor of Ernest McCulloch and James Till, who are known as the “fathers” of stem cell science, this award recognizes junior scientists in the field of experimental hematology and stem cells. The award is given annually to one scientist who is nominated and selected as an outstanding early career investigator in the field. Professors McCulloch and Till are widely considered to be the first scientists to show that the bone marrow contains stem cells, a finding that gave rise to the field of bone marrow transplantation.

The driving force and long-standing desire behind Mikkola’s research is to improve leukemia treatment by understanding the origin of hematopoietic or blood-producing stem cells (HSCs). Mikkola feels she can best contribute to that mission by uncovering the biological mechanisms that control the development of HSCs with the ultimate goal of establishing new sources of the cells for bone-marrow transplantation to treat leukemia. Because many of those mechanisms are also involved in the disease-development path of leukemia, knowing how the regulators act will reveal a greater understanding of leukemia’s origins, leading to innovative and effective treatments for the disease.