UCLA Researchers discuss study

Dr. Hanna Mikkola, an associate professor of molecular cell and developmental biology and a researcher with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, and Akanksha Chhabra, a post-doctoral fellow, discusses their discovery of a critical placental niche cell and signaling pathway that prevents blood precursors from premature differentiation in the placenta, a process that is necessary for ensuring proper blood supply for an individual's lifetime. The placental niche, a stem cell "safe zone," supports blood stem cell generation and expansion without promoting differentiation into mature blood cells, allowing the establishment of a pool of precursor cells that provide blood cells for later fetal and post-natal life. The study appeared March 1, 2012 in the peer-reviewed journal Developmental Cell.