Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center
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Helen M. Blau

Academic Appointments

  • The Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation Professor and Director, Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology

Contact Information

  • Academic Offices
    Personal Information
    Email Tel (650) 723-6209
    Alternate Contact
    Scott Reiff Administrative Coordinator Tel Work 650-723-6209


Administrative Appointments

  • Director, Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology (2000 - present)
  • Associate Program Director, Predoctoral Training, Developmental Biology and Neonatology Training Grant (2008 - present)
  • Member, Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (2004 - present)
  • Faculty Affiliate, Bio-X Program (2005 - present)
  • Faculty Affiliate, Stanford Cardiovascular Institute (2003 - present)
  • Chair, Department of Molecular Pharmacology (1997 - 2002)

Honors and Awards

  • Board Member, Harvard Board of Overseer¬ís (2004-2010)
  • Irving Weinstein Foundation Award for Outstanding Innovations in Science, AACR (2011)
  • Fulbright Senior Specialist, Institut Pasteur, Paris (2007)
  • Council Member, Institute of Medicine (IOM) (2003-2009)
  • Plenary Lecturer, 400th Pontifical Academy, The Vatican (2003)
  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Nijmegen, Holland (2003)
View All 22honors and awards of Helen Blau

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Senior Editor, Differentiation (2005 - present)
  • Associate Editor, FASEB Journal (2005 - present)
  • Senior Editor, Genes to Cells (1994 - present)

Professional Education

Ph.D.: Harvard University (1975)
M.A.: Harvard University (1970)
B.A.: University of York (1969)

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

How do cells maintain or alter quiescent, proliferative, or differentiated states? Once a cell becomes specialized for function in a particular tissue, that differentiated state is stable, yet the molecular mechanisms that control the expression of its characteristic repertoire of genes are largely dynamic. Our research is directed at understanding this apparent paradox and elucidating the nature of cell stability and cell plasticity. By perturbing the intracellular or extracellular milieu, we are probing the regulatory network that determines cell fate and how it can be altered. This knowledge is key to our understanding of nuclear reprogramming and how to enlist cells for therapeutic purposes. We are probing the fundamental regulatory mechanisms using cell fusion and dedifferentiation. We also focus on dedicated stem cells that exist in our muscle tissues to learn what goes awry as we age or suffer from genetic muscle disorders. For example, we have identified skeletal muscle stem cells and have discovered novel small molecules and niche proteins that enhance their function and expand their numbers, which is crucial for muscle regeneration. We have also determined a new role for telomeres in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which provides novel insights into the development of the disease and treatment for it. We are developing the use of somatic cells and stem cells for therapeutic purposes - regenerative medicine.






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Publication Topics

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