Gi Fay (Geoffrey) Mok

Dr

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Personal profile

Key Research Interests

The Mok lab studies the embryonic origin of blood stem cells and endothelial cells with the aim to inform the generation of these cells in culture with the goal of producing clinically relevant stem cells for therapeutic purposes.

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are at the initiation of the hematopoietic hierarchy and give rise to all blood lineages in the adult organism. Understanding the molecular, cellular, and developmental biology of HSCs is of fundamental importance, but also clinically relevant for the progress of cell replacement therapies and transplantation protocols in blood-related genetic diseases. Yet, our capacity to grow, expand and manipulate HSCs is still limited and thus restricting opportunities for using them for therapies.

While the major anatomical sites of hematopoiesis change during ontogeny, the developmental origin of HSCs remains undetermined. Furthermore, the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) involved in early blood specification is also unresolved. In our research, we use the avian (chick) embryo as a model organism which shares great similarities to human embryo development to investigate how HSCs are specified, how they behave at a cellular level and compare across species to apply this knowledge of the purpose of regenerative medicine. We adopt molecular biology techniques (such as in vivo genome-editing with CRISPR) and cellular biology techniques (such as advanced live imaging) along with the latest single-cell sequencing technologies (such as scRNA-seq and ATAC-seq) in parallel to computational biology to try and answer these key questions. To support us with our research we currently have funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Career

2022-present Group Leader & Lecturer in Biomedicine, BioMedical Research Centre (BMRC), University of East Anglia.

2020-present British Heart Foundation Principal Investigator, University of East Anglia.

2020-2020 Post-doctoral Research Associate, Earlham Institute (BBSRC funded) with Dr Iain Macaulay.

2016-2019 Senior Post-doctoral Research Associate, University of East Anglia (BBSRC funded) with Prof Andrea Münsterberg.

2013-2016 Post-doctoral Research Associate, University of East Anglia (BBSRC funded) with Prof Andrea Münsterberg.

2009-2012 Ph.D. University of Nottingham (BBSRC DTP) with Dr Dylan Sweetman and Prof Keith H. Campbell.

Administrative Posts

2022-present Organiser of "Cell, Development and Molecular Biology (CDMB)" seminar series

2022-present BIO Research Staff Co-ordinator

Research Group or Lab Membership

Current

Megan Bridges (Master's student)

Alumni

Lydia Pouncey (Master's student)

Network

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