Dr. Zalzman is a molecular cell biologist and an established stem-cells expert since the year 2000. She received her B.Sc. degree from the University of Bar Ilan, Israel, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University, Israel, in the department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry. She then completed post-doctoral work at the National Institute on Aging/NIH, in the developmental Genomics and Aging Section in the Laboratory of Genetics. She holds a worldwide patent from WIPO, and is a full member of the University of Maryland Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.
The Zalzman lab studies fundamental mechanisms controlling cellular immortality and telomere repair. We are exploring these topics in two major systems: adult stem cells and cancer cells.
Unlike normal cells in our body, cancer cells don’t age. They activate mechanisms to bypass the aging process, gain immortality and continue to replicate indefinitely. Our goal is to characterize the components of a novel apparatus that allows cancer to bypass cell aging in order to ultimately allow the development of a new class of agents designed to target cancer immortality.
For our stem cell study, we use adult stem cells as an in vitro model for aging and telomere damage. Currently, the clinical use of adult stem cells is very limited as their potential to replicate and form different tissue types is reduced in aged patients and due to further accelerated aging when expanded in tissue cultures.
Our lab develops novel protocols to enhance the replicative lifespan and the differentiation potential of adult stem cells. This research will allow the large scale expansion of adult stem cells required for future therapies of numerous diseases that are currently candidates for stem cell treatment, such as bone and cartilage reconstructive surgeries, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.
Lab Techniques and Equipment:
The Zalzman lab has extensive experience in isolation of adult human stem cells from multiple tissue sources such as the bone marrow, tonsils, pancreas, liver and adipose (fat) tissue. Our lab specializes in propagation of primary adult stem cell cultures, establishment of stem cell lines, long-term culture, characterization, and tissue engineering of stem cells.
Our cancer projects includes multiple techniques such as cancer cell lines establishment, tissue array studies, functional genomics, xenograft models in mice and tumor histological analysis.
For our research we use advanced molecular cell biology and cytogenetic techniques such as: M-FISH, Q-FISH, telomere FISH combined with co-immunostaining, G-band karyotyping and sister chromatid exchange (SCE) assay. Biological assays such as apoptosis and viability assays, cell proliferation assay, telomerase activity (TRAP) assays and cell survival assay. For gene functional analysis we use targeted gene knockout, as well as gene knockdown, gene rescue experiments by exogenous transgene gene induction, inducible gene expression systems (tet inducible system or the CreERT2 system). Additional molecular biology methods: RT-PCR, PCR, qPCR, Microarrays, Western blot, co-immunofluorescence staining for multiple antigens, Flow cytometery analysis and FACS sorting.
Grants & Contracts:
Maryland Stem Cells/TEDCO investigator Initiate Grant