Telomerase: at the crossroads of aging, cancer and disease

Aberrations in telomere biology are well recognized as a potent inducer of human disease. Telomeres, long nucleotide repeats bound by a protein complex are critical for the maintenance of chromosomal integrity. Inefficient telomere maintenance is linked to a large number of human diseases, including bone marrow failure, pulmonary fibrosis, live cirrhosis and cancer. In addition, telomere shortening is intrinsically connected to physiological aging in humans.

The overarching goal of research in the Batista Lab is to understand the role of telomere dysfunction in human disease, cancer and aging. Our laboratory uses genome-wide methods to uncover alterations that drive cellular failure upon progressive telomere dysfunction, using human pluripotent cells (including both embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells) as a primary model. We combine in vitro biochemical and mechanistic studies with our ability to generate and differentiate human pluripotent stem cells to better understand the importance of telomere maintenance in humans and to determine the events that lead from telomere shortening to disease in humans.



An initial clue on why patients with mutant telomerase suffer from liver disease, fibrosis and cirrhosis! See Michael and Evandro’s recent paper in Hepatology here
Chemical inhibition of PAPD5 is a potential avenue for treatment of patients suffering with Dyskeratosis Congenita!! See Sid Shukla and Hochang’s paper here
Alex just wrote a fantastic review on tumor propagating cells! Check it out here!
Our lab just received a prestigious Scholar Award from the American Cancer Society. Excited to continue our work on telomere dysfunction and cancer!
Kirsten Brenner successfully defended her PhD, through the MGG program. Congrats Kirsten!
Wilson Fok got a fancy new job at Sigma, on their genome editing team! good luck Wilson!
Alex Vessoni won the Best Poster Award at WashU’s Annual Postdoc Symposium! Congrats Alex!!
A new pathway for rescuing bone marrow failure in dyskeratosis congenita! Congrats Wilson on your new manuscript!!!
Michael Munroe joined the lab for his NIH-sponsored postdoctoral training! Welcome Michael!!
Ho-Chang Jeong joined the lab as a postdoctoral trainee, Welcome Ho-Chang!
Mutations in telomerase could increase risk of graft-versus-host-disease after lung transplants. Check out our new paper here
Check out why WashU is so successful in clinically oriented basic research!
We are happy to host Jamison Leid as a rotation student
We are happy to host Yujie Chen as a MGG rotation student!
We are proud to have received a prestigious Young Investigator Award from AFAR, the American Federation for Aging Research
Telomere shortening specifically impairs the definitive, not primitive, hematopoietic development program. See the press release and read the article!
Such an honor to be a V Foundation Scholar. Check out their fantastic work here
Welcome Jason Colasanti, post-bac trainee from the Opportunities in Genomic Research Program at Washington University in St. Louis
Telomere shortening and its role in chronic diseases. Learn more!