Published: 07-11-2014 13:25 | Updated: 07-11-2014 13:31

She climbs the KI career ladder

Hong Qian, group leader at HERM, is one of the 10 researchers who has received funding for two years as Senior Research Fellow in the first allocation of KI:s career ladder. The Board of Research has identified her as a researcher with “particularly outstanding scientific merits and future potential”.

Congratulations! How does it feel to have received this funding?

- I am very happy since this funding is critical for developing our ongoing research projects. I feel very grateful to KI and I appreciate their trust on me. It is indeed encouraging.

Tell us a bit about your research!

- The focus of my research is on ’Understanding the role of bone marrow stromal cells including mesenchymal stem cells in the development of leukemia’.

The current therapies for treatment of leukemia are directly targeting on leukemic cells. Eventhough the majority of leukemia responds to the treatment at the beginning, and the treatment outcome has significantly improved, the disease often comes back after some time. Therefore, there is great need in searching for new treatment strategy targeting bone marrow stroma – a place where blood cells are generated, grow and transformed into leukemic cells, is also called blood cell niche in bone marrow.

- One possible path to the identification of new stroma-targeted treatment regiments is to understand the exact role of bone marrow stromal cells in development of leukemia. My colleagues and I have been trying to characterize the stromal cells including mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) using both advanced transgenic mouse models and human materials from patients in order to reveal their functional contribution to the initiation and progression of different blood disorders.

What are your future plans?

- I will use this grant for both supporting my position as a senior research fellow and running my research projects. I will extend my research program further to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the potential contribution of the stromal cells to blood disorders.

About Hong Qian
She received her Ph.D. degree in Stem Cell Biology from Lund Stem Cell Center, Lund University in 2007. She did her postdoc training at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University (2008-2011). She was then recruited to Center for Hematology and Regenerative Medince (HERM) at KI as an assistant professor in December 2011.