Welcome to the J. Lee Nelson Lab. Our research focuses on chimerism, which means having cells (or DNA) that originated in another person. Chimersim is created in transplantation artificially, but also occurs naturally on a smaller scale called “micro”chimerism. Most often, microchimerism (Mc) originates from cells (and DNA) exchanged between a mother and child during pregnancy that, surprisingly, persist in the other person decades later.
The projects in our lab involve the investigation of Mc in autoimmune diseases and cancer. The autoimmune diseases we currently work on are scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Our work with cancer is directed towards harnessing the power of naturally acquired Mc against cancer, specifically against acute leukemia, notably in the context of cord blood transplantation.