Professor Roger Pedersen

University of Cambridge
Department of Surgery
Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

Position: Professor
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Professor Roger Pedersen is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.

Research description

Our principal objective is to define the molecular and genetic basis for the maintenance of the pluripotent status of human embryonic stem cells, and similarly, the basis for their differentiation into the primary body lineages: mesoderm, endoderm and neuroectoderm. Previous studies had revealed that pluripotency of human embryonic stem cells was not maintained by similar mechanisms as for mouse embryonic stem cells, whose self-renewal depends on Leukemia Inhibitor Factor and Bone Morphogenetic Protein. We have examined the effects of other growth factors known to be important in cell fate decisions of mammalian and other vertebrate embryos. We found that signaling through the Activin/Nodal pathway is critical for maintenance of pluripotency and that basic Fibroblast Growth Factor augments this pathway. We hypothesise that their effects in human embryonic stem cells involve alternative intermediate transcription factor(s) and target genes, which is the subject of our current study.

Research Programme
Cell and Molecular Biology
Recent publications:
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Key publications

Brons, IGM, Smithers LE, Trotter M, Rugg-Gunn P, Sun B, Chuva de Sousa Lopes SM, Howlett SK, Clarkson A, Ahrlund-Richter L, Pedersen RA and Vallier L. (2007) Derivation of pluripotent epiblast stem cells from mammalian embryos. Nature. 448: 191-195 Kim K, Ng K, Rugg-Gunn PJ, Shieh J-H, Kirak O, Jaenisch R, Wakayama T, Moore MA, Pedersen RA, and Daley GQ. (2007) Recombination signatures distinguish embryonic stem cells derived by parthenogenesis and somatic cell nuclear transfer. Cell Stem Cell 1(3): 346-52. Epub 2007 Aug 2. Rugg-Gunn P J, Ferguson-Smith AC, and Pedersen RA. (2007) Status of genomic imprinting in human embryonic stem cells as revealed by a large cohort of independently derived and maintained lines. Hum. Mol. Gen. 16: 243-251.