For her PhD in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Tel Aviv University, Maayan Pour used a combination of live imaging experiments and statistical analysis to study cell state transitions in reprograming and early development. She demonstrated that the ability of somatic cells to reprogram into induced pluripotent stem cells (with their ability to differentiate to all cell types) is pre-determined in the starting cell population. Understanding of pluripotent-differentiated fate transitions is of great interest to scientists because they are the basis for stem-cell therapy, used in research and medicine.
Dr. Pour’s postdoctoral research at the Institute for Computational Medicine at New York University School of Medicine is a study of the role of tumor microenvironment in cancer cell state determination. It is not known whether the cells in a cancerous tumor behave competitively (as has been the model to date), or cooperatively, whereby each cancer cell state has distinct functions that act coordinately to promote the overall success of the tumor. Dr. Pour will use patient-derived organoids, established from primary tumors in various kinds of cancer tissues, as well as spatial mapping, to study fundamental principles of cancer cell heterogeneity.
During her graduate career, Dr. Pour co-organized and chaired the Federation of European Biochemical Societies’ Young Scientists Forum in Jerusalem, hosting over 100 young scientists from around the world. She is still a contributing author to their Early Career channel.