The research in my lab primarily focuses on processes involved in blood cell production (haematopoiesis). All blood cells are formed from haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which are capable of either self-renewing (to make more HSCs) or differentiating into mature blood cell types – each HSC makes hundreds of thousands of blood cells. HSCs are finely regulated, and problems in the regulation of HSCs can lead to haematopoietic diseases (such as leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndromes) or blood cell exhaustion.

Research in my laboratory is focused on understanding how HSCs are regulated, and determining the roles of the bone marrow microenvironment (where blood cells are made) in regulating haemopoietic diseases, including leukaemia. Of major interest are the roles of the receptors for vitamin A (retinoic acid receptors, RARs) in these processes.

Our approaches include the use of different mouse knockout models, stem and progenitor cell assays, including bone marrow transplantation studies and ex vivo culture methods, imaging analyses of bone marrow microenvironment cells, gene transduction, FACS-based methods for sorting and analysis, analysis of gene expression by quantitative real-time PCR and gene profiling studies.

Key achievements

2023    International Society for Experimental Hematology Award for Leadership in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

2023   Member, Scientific Program Committee, International Society for Experimental Hematology; Member, ASH Committee for Scientific Affairs

2022   McCulloch and Till Award, International Society for Experimental Hematology

2022   Chair, ASH Scientific Committee on Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

2021   Vice Chair, ASH Scientific Committee on Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

2020-current   Associate Editor, Experimental Hematology

2018-current   Associate Editor, StemJournal

2017-current   Member, Editorial Board, Experimental Hematology

2017-2022   Member, American Society of Hematology (ASH) Scientific Committee on Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

2016   SVI Foundation Award

2016-current   Member, Editorial Board, Scientific Reports

2015-current   Member, Standing Research Subcommittee, Cancer Council Victoria

2014-current   Member, Editorial Board, PLoS One

2011-2015   NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship

2010-2013   Director, ISEH Society for Experimental Hematology

2008-2010   NHMRC Career Development Award, Level 2

1999-2002   Special Fellowship, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America

1993-1994   Postgraduate Bursary, The British Council


Selected publications

Purton LE. Adult murine hematopoietic stem cells and progenitors: an update on their identities, functions and assays. Exp Hematol 2022 116:1-14

Walkley CR, Olsen GH, Dworkin S, Fabb SA, Swann J, McArthur GA, Westmoreland SV, Chambon P, Scadden DT, Purton LE. A microenvironment-induced myeloproliferative syndrome caused by retinoic acid receptor g deficiency. Cell 2007, 129:1097-1110. Doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.05.2014

Purton LE, Scadden DT. Limiting factors in murine hematopoietic stem cell assays. Cell Stem Cell 2007; 1:263-270. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2007.08.016

Purton LE, Dworkin S, Olsen GH, Walkley CR, Fabb SA, Collins SJ, Chambon P. RARg is critical for maintaining a balance between hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. J Exp Med 2006; 203:1283-1293. DOI: 10.1084/jem.2005

Purton LE, Bernstein ID, Collins SJ. All-trans retinoic acid enhances the maintenance of long-term repopulating hematopoietic stem cells. Blood 2000; 95:470-477.

Purton LE, Bernstein ID, Collins SJ. All-trans retinoic acid delays the differentiation of primitive hematopoietic precursors (lin- c-kit+ Sca-1+) while enhancing the terminal maturation of committed granulocyte/monocyte progenitors. Blood 1999; 94:483-495.

ORCID profile: 0000-0001-6593-3168

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