Sean Morrison Laboratory, the Hamon Laboratory for Stem Cell and Cancer Biology

In the News

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-2-25-32-pmDALLAS – Dec. 13, 2016 – A team of scientists at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) discovered a new bone-forming growth factor, Osteolectin (Clec11a), which reverses osteoporosis in mice and has implications for regenerative medicine.

Although Osteolectin is known to be made by certain bone marrow and bone cells, CRI researchers are the first to show Osteolectin promotes the formation of new bone from skeletal stem cells in the bone marrow. The study, published in eLife, also found that deletion of Osteolectin in mice causes accelerated bone loss during adulthood and symptoms of osteoporosis, such as reduced bone strength and delayed fracture healing.

Read the news release.

 


sean_morrison_phd_20151-copyDr. Sean Morrison, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, received an Individual Investigator Award from CPRIT to study the mechanisms of melanoma metastasis. Dr. Morrison is one of five researchers at UT Southwestern to receive funding from CPRIT.

Dr. Morrison aims to better understand the complex molecular mechanisms that allow cancer cells to spread. This research will build on earlier work that found metastasis of human melanoma cells to be limited by oxidative stress, caused by the generation inside cancer cells of highly toxic reactive molecules known as reactive oxygen species. Most melanoma cells that enter the blood die from oxidative stress. Dr. Morrison believes the rare melanoma cells that survive during metastasis undergo specific metabolic adaptations that allow them to withstand the oxidative stress.

Read the article.


cris-contribution-to-childhood-cancer-research-infographic-finalOctober 11, 2016 – According to statistics from the National Cancer Institute, 10,380 children in the U.S. under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Although advances in treatment have increased the five-year survival rate from 58 percent to 80 percent, cancer in children remains the leading cause of disease-related death among children and teenagers. But the outlook is improving thanks to cutting-edge biomedical research that contributes to the understanding of the disease and the discovery of new treatment options.

The interdisciplinary group of scientists and physicians at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) have made significant strides in childhood cancer research.

Read the article.


May 10, 2016 — Dr. Bo Zhou, a postdoctoral researcher in the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute lab of Dr. Sean Morrison, has been named the winner of the 2016 Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center. The recognition is the highest annual award given to a UT Southwestern postdoctoral scholar participating in the graduate school’s Postdoctoral Certificate Training Program. Read the article.

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March 29, 2016 — Scientists at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) report that dietary intake determines the balance between fat formation and bone formation in adult bone marrow. The team led by Dr. Sean Morrison, CRI Director and Professor of Pediatrics, found that leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells in response to food consumption, acts directly on stem cells in the bone marrow to promote the formation of fat cells at the expense of bone.

“This discovery settles a longstanding controversy in this field over the mechanisms underlying the reciprocal relationship between fat and bone,” Dr. Morrison said.

Dr. Morrison is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics at UT Southwestern, the director of the Hamon Laboratory for Stem Cell and Cancer Biology, and a CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research.

The research was supported by the Damon Runyan Cancer Research Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American Heart Association, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, and donors to the Children’s Medical Center Foundation.

The study was published in Cell Stem Cell.

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Nov. 16, 2015 — Scientists at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern have determined how the body responds during times of emergency when it needs more blood cells. In a study published in Nature, researchers report that when tissue damage occurs, in times of excessive bleeding, or during pregnancy, a secondary, emergency blood-formation system is activated in the spleen.

Watch the video below identifying blood-forming stem cells inside the spleen, and read the news release.


Oct. 14, 2015 — A team of scientists at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has made a discovery that suggests cancer cells benefit more from antioxidants than normal cells, raising concerns about the use of dietary antioxidants by patients with cancer. The studies were conducted in specialized mice that had been transplanted with melanoma cells from patients. Prior studies had shown that the metastasis of human melanoma cells in these mice is predictive of their metastasis in patients.

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Metastasis, the process by which cancer cells disseminate from their primary site to other parts of the body, leads to the death of most cancer patients. The CRI team found that when antioxidants were administered to the mice, the cancer spread more quickly than in mice that did not get antioxidants. The study was published in Nature.

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Sept. 23, 2015 — A team of scientists at the Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has become the first to use a tissue-clearing technique to localize a rare stem cell population, in the process cracking open a black box containing detailed information about where blood-forming stem cells are located and how they are maintained.

The findings, published in Nature, provide a significant advance toward understanding the microenvironment in which stem cells reside within the bone marrow.

Watch the video below, and read the news release.


Aug. 18, 2015 — Le Qi, a Ph.D. student researcher at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI), has been selected as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Student Research Fellow. Qi, from China, is one of only 45 international students from 18 countries chosen to receive a fellowship.

Qi is completing his Ph.D. studies in the Hamon Laboratory for Stem Cell and Cancer Biology under the direction of Dr. Sean Morrison, Director of CRI and an HHMI Investigator. Dr. Morrison is originally from Canada, and was selected as an HHMI International Predoctoral Fellow when he was completing his Ph.D. at Stanford University.

“It feels like an opportunity to give back a little by now mentoring one of these students in my lab,” said Dr. Morrison. “These are all students who have an opportunity to do something special. The fellowships fill a major need, while also supporting some of the strongest and most highly selected students in the country.”

Read the news release.


June 15, 2015 — Dr. Sean Morrison, Director of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, has been announced as the incoming president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). The ISSCR represents nearly 4,000 stem cell researchers in 55 countries, promoting global collaboration among the world’s most prominent stem cell scientists and physicians. Read more about Dr. Morrison’s upcoming presidential term.