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Researcher | Research Overview

The laboratory focuses on stem cell biology, with an emphasis on hematopoietic differentiation from human and mouse pluripotent stem cells, somatic cell reprogramming to model human blood diseases, and mechanisms of oncogenesis. Specific research programs are described briefly below: Directed differentiation of HSCs from pluripotent stem cells: We study hematopoietic development in mouse embryos and differentiating cultures of human and mouse pluripotent stem cells to define the molecular genetic programs that enable formation of HSCs in experimental and therapeutic models. 

Our long-term goal is improved transplantation therapies for genetic and malignant blood disorders. Derivation of genetically defined pluripotent stem cells: We use nuclear transfer, parthenogenesis, and reprogramming with defined genes to model combined cell and gene therapy of human genetic disorders. Mechanisms of oncogenesis: We have a long-standing interest in molecular mechanisms of leukemia induction by the BCR/ABL oncoprotein in human Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, the classic malignancy of hematopoietic stem cells. Recent studies in our lab have focused on the role of the Lin28A/B genes that are linked to a variety of cancer types. 

Researcher | Research Background

Dr. Daley earned his bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Harvard (1982), and his PhD in biology at MIT (1989), working with Nobelist David Baltimore. He received his MD summa cum laude from HMS (1991). He pursued internship and residency in internal medicine at Mass General and a clinical fellowship in hematology/oncology at Brigham and Women’s and Boston Children’s Hospitals. After serving as chief resident in medicine at MGH (1994-95), Daley joined the HMS faculty as an assistant professor and staff physician in hematology/oncology at Mass General (1995-2003) while running a laboratory as a Whitehead Fellow at the MIT-affiliated Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. In 2003 he moved his laboratory to Boston Children’s Hospital, where he attended in Pediatric Hematology, later serving as director of the Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center from 2009 to 2016. Daley has been professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at HMS since 2010 and was an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 2008 until he resigned in 2017 upon assuming the Deanship.

Important contributions from the Daley laboratory include the creation of customized stem cells to treat genetic immune deficiency in a mouse model, the generation of disease-specific pluripotent stem cells by direct reprogramming of human fibroblasts, and demonstration of the role of the LIN28/let-7 pathway in cancer. In past research, he demonstrated the central role of the BCR/ABL oncoprotein in human chronic myelogenous leukemia, work that provided critical target validation for development of Gleevec, a highly successful chemotherapeutic agent.

Daley was an inaugural winner of the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for highly innovative research. His honors include the American Philosophical Society’s Judson Daland Prize for achievement in patient-oriented research, the American Pediatric Society’s E. Mead Johnson Award for contributions to stem cell research, the American Society of Hematology’s E. Donnall Thomas Prize for advances in human-induced pluripotent stem cells and the International Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Foundation’s Janet Rowley Prize for outstanding lifetime contributions to the understanding and/or treatment of CML. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

In addition to his research, Daley has been a principal figure in authoring international guidelines for stem cell research and its clinical translation, particularly through his work with the International Society for Stem Cell Research, where he served as president (2007-08). He has testified six times before Congress and spoken in forums worldwide on the scientific and ethical dimensions of stem cell research and genome editing.


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