Research in the Mulligan laboratory is directed at two areas: the study of hematopoiesis and the manipulation of immune response. In both, the researchers are employing gene transfer.
In the first, the researchers are most interested in understanding the functional properties of the hematopoietic stem cell, a pluripotent cell which serves to replenish blood cells over the lifetime of an organism. They are currently exploring the purification and functional characterization of stem cells, the development of methods for the separation quiescent and naturally replicating stem cells, and studies of the functional properties of different purified cell populations. They are simultaneously evaluating the feasibility of different gene therapy strategies for treating certain inherited diseases involving hematopoietic cells.
In the second line of research, the laboratory is working to development of novel therapeutic vaccination strategies to treat cancer and AIDS. The vaccines involve either the use of genetically modified tumor cells or antigen presenting cells engineered to co-express tumor or viral antigens and specific immunostimulatory gene products. Mulligan and colleagues are also pursuing the development of strategies to prevent the rejection of mismatched cell or organ transplants and to treat autoimmune disease more efficiently. They have recently begun to apply gene transfer techniques to the development of anti-cancer therapies targeting the tumor vasculature.
About Richard Mulligan
Richard Mulligan received his Ph.D. degree from Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He is the recipient of several honors and awards including the MacArthur Foundation Prize, the Rhodes Memorial Award from the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Society of Microbiology Amgen Award.