A study that Erin Drew took part in revealed some surprising insights about the mysterious CD34 protein. Contrary to the predominate belief that this protein is absent on mature blood cells, this study demonstrated that CD34 is present on mature mast cells. These cells play a major role in the development of asthma and allergies by releasing strong chemicals such as histamine into tissues and blood. In her Master’s research, Erin further investigated the role of CD34, and a similar protein CD43, on mast cells. Her research suggests that CD34 blocks inappropriate cell adhesion, and that CD34 and CD43 play an important role in the appropriate migration of cells into tissues. Erin hopes this work could lead to new drug treatments for asthma and allergies, as well as contribute to the emerging use of stem cell transplantation in treatment of diseases.