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Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program


Luisa Iruela Arispe

Gay Crooks

Luisa Iruela-Arispe, Ph.D.

Gay Crooks, M.B., B.S.


The primary objective of the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program Area is to link basic and translational investigators interested in the unique biological processes shared by malignancy and stem cells. The fundamental biology that characterizes these two systems can be viewed as the control of the opposing processes of self-renewal and differentiation. The balance of these processes is in turn determined by cell intrinsic and micro-environmental cues. These common mechanisms are studied by a group of highly interactive CSCB investigators using normal stem cells and their malignant counterparts.


Scientific interactions between our investigators have three major integrating themes that are relevant to the study of malignancy and stem cell biology irrespective of the specific tissue/cell source. These are:

  1. The regulation of growth and differentiation in tissue specific stem cells during malignant transformation and normal development
  2. The role of microenvironment in tumor formation and stem cell regulation
  3. The use of pluripotent stem cells as a model to study basic mechanisms of self-renewal and transformation

Meetings and Events

  • Participation in weekly JCCC seminars that feature invited and local faculty
  • Working dinners for Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program members
  • Sponsors of the Cell and Developmental Biology Weekly Seminar Series
  • Co-sponsor of annual Symposia in Stem Cell
  • Sponsor outside invited speakers that focus on research related to our research program
  • Monthly seminars for Pre-doctoral and Postdoctoral students supported on T32 grants associated with the program (Tumor Cell Biology, Vascular Biology, CIRM training grants)


Dr. Luisa Iruela-Arispe, Director of the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program, is a professor and vice-chairman of molecular, cellular and developmental biology. Her research focuses in understanding the process by which blood vessels are formed and its regulation in vivo. Establishment of a vascular system is a key requirement for the development and survival of the mammalian embryo. In the adult, deregulation of vascular growth contributes to the pathology of devastating disorders including cancer.

Co-Director Dr. Gay Crooks is a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Pediatrics at UCLA and Co-Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research. Her research program was founded on the question of how to identify and functionally define human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. This central theme has reached over time into three related areas: 1) the characterization and manipulation of human hematopoietic stem cells and lymphoid progenitors in cord blood, bone marrow and thymus; 2) mechanisms of engraftment and thymopoiesis after bone marrow transplantation; and 3) hematopoiesis from human embryonic stem cells.

Last updated: 1/29/2015 4:29:38 PM