Founded in 2014, the Stachura Laboratory is located at California State University, Chico. We are dedicated to understanding blood and immune cell formation, differentiation, and proliferation in order to treat diseases such as anemia, thrombocytopenia, and leukemia. We perform our research in zebrafish (Danio rerio), an excellent model system for visualizing blood cell development and for performing genetic and drug screens. Zebrafish have an immune system similar to mammals, allowing us to understand how this complex system evolved over the past 400+ million years.
Hematopoiesis and Immunity
Research in the Stachura Laboratory focuses primarily on hematopoiesis (blood cell production). Every day, an adult human produces billions of new blood cells to replace ones that are constantly dying. This tightly orchestrated cellular regeneration all depends on specialized adult stem cells called hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These cells are generated when you are just an embryo, and survive in your bone marrow for your entire life. They have the ability to not only make copies of themselves, but also to differentiate into the multitude of blood and immune cells, all of which have specific, essential functions in your body.
We are investigating genes discovered by RNA sequencing and forward genetic screens likely involved in hematopoiesis and immune function with morpholino and CRISPR technology.
IN VITRO ASSAY DEVELOPMENT
We develop and utilize in vitro cell culture techniques to investigate the role of novel genes in hematopoiesis.
We are using zebrafish to determine the effects of toxins on the immune system. Many of these toxins were released into local waterways after the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, CA.
We are growing fish muscle, fat, and cartilage cells in vitro with the goal of creating sustainable, clean fish tissue for human consumption.
In partnership with chemists, we design and validate small molecules that prevent oncogenesis and kill leukemic cells.
MESENCHYMAL STEM CELLS
We are currently investigating the utility of cytokines produced by mesenchymal stem cells to treat wounds, burns, and other serious skin disorders.
Associate Professor and Principal Investigator
DAVID STACHURA, PHD
David performed his graduate work in the laboratory of Mitchell Weiss, M.D. Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, studying the role of the essential transcription factor Gata1 in mouse red blood cell and megakaryocyte differentiation. Afterwards, he performed his postdoctoral work in the laboratory of David Traver, Ph.D. at the University of California San Diego, where he developed novel in vitro assays to characterize zebrafish blood cell progenitors.
David started his own laboratory in 2014, and is dedicated to integrating his research on blood cell development into undergraduate and graduate education.