Bone marrow is the tissue that fills most bone cavities and is the source of red blood cells and many white blood cells. Disorders that require bone marrow transplantation include aplastic anemia (inadequate blood cell formation by bone marrow), immune disorders, and many types of blood cancers. Current bone marrow transplantation therapies are limited by the number of blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) that can be isolated from the patient or donor and transplanted to the patient. Typically, bone marrow or peripheral blood, as closely matched as possible to the patient, is transplanted into the patient. As this match is rarely perfect, patients will often develop a condition of varying severity known as graft-versus-host disease, which causes the patient’s immune system to destroy donor cells. Michelle Miller aims to generate in the laboratory a non-viral method of expanding HSC in the aim of avoiding certain complications that can arise from gene therapy or allogenic bone marrow transplantation.. Michelle (or Ms. Miller) is in the process of testing a fusion protein, which in viral form, has proven to lead to significant HSC expansion and generation of functional mature cells without leading to malignancy. She is also investigating whether there are pathways in common between the self-renewal capacity of mouse fetal liver HSC and those found in the adult as these cells perform better in transplantation tests when compared to HSC from adults. Ms. Miller (or Michelle – see above)hopes her research will lead to increased knowledge about hematopoietic stem cells, and to safer, more effective stem cell therapies.