Professor of Stem Cell differentiation at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.
Lesley's research focuses on the molecular mechanisms involved in the production of blood cells from pluripotent stem cells.
She obtained her PhD on the clonal analysis of haematopoietic stem cells at the University of Edinburgh and was awarded a two year European Molecular Biology Organisation Fellowship to carry out Postdoctoral training in Toronto, Canada.
During this time she was involved in work that defined the role of Stem Cell Factor and c-Kit in haematopoietic development and developed the first strategies to produce blood cells from mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs).
She returned to the University of Edinburgh to take up a prestigious MRC Senior Fellowship and established a research group studying the molecular processes involved in differentiation of mouse and human embryonic stem cells in vitro.
She has published many peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and was promoted to a Personal Chair of Stem Cell Differentiation at the University in August 2012.
She is a member of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and British Society for Developmental Biology and the Institute of Biology.
Within the “Biology Workstream” of the NOVOSANG project her research aims to generate tools to manipulate the genome of human pluripotent stem cells.
Using strategies including TALENS and Crispr/Cas9 technologies inducible reprogramming transcription factors will be introduced into specific chromosomal locations (eg. AAVS locus).
Her group is also generating pluripotent stem cell lines carrying fluorescent reporters to monitor specific points during the differentiation process that will be used to screen small molecule libraries and to optimise the differentiation protocol. Her work in this area is funded the Wellcome Trust and the Scottish Funding Council.