Our laboratory began with the opening of the UC Merced campus in 2005, and we have rapidly grown into a team of graduate and undergraduate students and staff exploring the mechanisms of immune system development in the mouse. We are members of the Quantitative and Systems Biology Graduate Program at UC Merced and work closely with other investigators interested in stem cell biology and cell fate decisions (UCM Stem Cell Consortium). Check out what we do and who we are!

Laboratory Focus

The Manilay Laboratory studies questions at the crossroads for developmental biology, stem cell biology and immunology.

During embryonic development, the fate of cells is determined by a combination of their microenvironment, the activation of specific cell signaling pathways, and expression of genes responding to activation, proliferation, survival and/or death signals. These mechanisms are also in effect in the mature adult organisms, and may change with age.

Our laboratory is applying these concepts to investigate the development of mouse hematopoietic cells as they mature from the hematopoietic stem cells to myeloid and lymphoid cell types. Stem cells interact closely with their microenvironmental niche resulting in stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. We are particularly focused on comparing the development of bone marrow niche and thymic microenvironments at the fetal and adult stages, as well as the signal transduction pathways and specific genes that are important in the regulation of the development of the diverse cell types in each microenvironment. Stem cells have the potential to be used for cell replacement therapies. Using our knowledge of the embryonic hematopoietic microenvironments, we are investigating how to derive hematopoietic progenitors from mouse embryonic stem cells (ESC) with the ultimate goal of studying how well these ESC-derived cells will fare in an adult microenvironment after transplantation.