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Dr. Lauren Goins is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine in the Developmental Biology Department. The Goins lab aims to understand how cells make decisions. Work from the lab tackles the major unsolved issue in hematopoietic development: how extracellular cues coordinate with the intracellular cell division machinery to influence cell fate decisions and ultimately produce the vast repertoire of blood cell types in the correct proportions. Lauren grew up in New Orleans, LA where she pursued her three major passions: cooking, math, and science. Dr. Goins continues to pursue these passions with the way she approaches research using biochemistry, quantitative methods, and light microscopy to visualize and genetically dissect fundamental biological phenomena. During her formative years, Lauren participated in science and engineering summer programs at the Colorado School of Mines, Xavier University, MIT, Stanford, Università di Siena, University College Dublin, and Harvard. Lauren received her Bachelor's degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College in Cambridge, MA. While at Harvard, Lauren worked at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School helping to develop and evaluate candidate HIV/AIDS vaccines in non-human primate models. Lauren then completed her doctoral training in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at UCSF where she studied how the actin cytoskeleton influences cell motility, cell shape, and cell cycle progression. During her graduate work, Lauren used high-resolution live imaging, in vitro reconstitution assays, and flow cytometry to study the unique properties of tropomyosin isoforms. Dr. Goins then did her postdoctoral research at UCLA where she utilized Drosophila as a model system to genetically dissect molecular and cellular mechanisms of hematopoiesis. As a postdoctoral scholar, she developed a live imaging method to visualize the blood system in a living intact animal and quantitative methods to analyze images from their research. Lauren joined Stanford as an Assistant Professor in 2023. The Goins lab uses Drosophila melanogaster as a model system and integrates their findings with research from mammalian hematopoiesis studies. This work will help build models of how individual blood cells integrate multiple cell-intrinsic and extrinsic inputs to produce distinct cell fate outputs, and how these are modified during stress or immune challenge. Ultimately, the answers to these profound fundamental questions will help us and the broader hematopoietic field develop therapies to treat debilitating diseases in which the processes of self-renewal and differentiation go awry, such as Acute Myeloid Leukemia
The Goins lab aims to understand how cells make decisions. Our research focuses on how young, immature blood stem cells, with the potential to become many different cell types, choose between these cell fates. During blood cell development, and in response to stress, blood stem cells must make a choice between “proliferation” to expand their population by making additional copies of themselves, and “differentiation” to produce mature functional blood cell types. A fully functioning immune system requires a balance between these processes to maintain a pool of stem cells while producing functional blood cells to help mitigate stresses such as injury or infection. When these processes go awry or become unbalanced, blood cancers such as Acute Myeloid Leukemia may occur. Our research elucidates how blood stem cells make these fate decisions by studying the fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms that control the decision-making process.