Sean J. Morrison
Who is Sean J. Morrison?
Sean J. Morrison holds the positions of professor and director of the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern; Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Morrison also is the principal investigator for the Hamon Laboratory for Stem Cell and Cancer Biology at CRI, which pursues research on the mechanisms that regulate stem cell function in the nervous and hematopoietic systems, and the ways in which those mechanisms are hijacked by cancer cells. Morrison established CRI in 2011 with the mission to perform transformative biomedical research to better understand the biological basis of disease. CRI is a joint venture positioned to build upon the comprehensive clinical expertise of Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and the internationally recognized scientific environment of UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Since its founding, CRI researchers have developed an approach for mapping the environments within the blood-forming system that nurture the process of blood-cell formation, in the process identifying a microenvironment in the bone marrow where blood-forming stem cells are maintained, and another that fosters the specialized cells that produce infection-fighting T cells and B cells. In the long run, the research could increase the safety and effectiveness of blood-forming stem cell transplants, such as those performed after healthy marrow is destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation treatments for childhood leukemia. The findings also could have implications for treating illnesses associated with a loss of infection-fighting cells, such as HIV and severe combined immunodeficiency, better known as bubble boy disease. CRI also has developed an innovative model for predicting the progression of skin cancer in patients, which may lead to new prognostic markers that can identify patients at the highest risk of disease progression, as well as new therapies.
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