Hope Lab, Hope Laboratory, Kristin Hope
Dr. Kristin Hope, Hope Lab

Dr. Kristin Hope


Kristin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University and a Principal Investigator at the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute (SCC-RI). She also holds the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research New Investigator Award.


Kristin received her BSc in Biochemistry (2000) from the University of Waterloo. She completed her PhD in 2007 in the laboratory of Dr. John Dick at the University of Toronto with a focus on the characterization and therapeutic targeting of the cells that drive acute myeloid leukemia. From 2007-2010 she carried out post-doctoral studies under the supervision of Dr. Guy Sauvageau at Université de Montreal where she utilized functional screens to identify novel hematopoietic stem cell regulators. Her current research program centers on studying pathways underlying the normal and malignant self-renewal machinery in the human blood system. Of particular interest is the exploration of this circuitry at the post-transcriptional level as mediated by RNA binding proteins. Kristin’s work capitalizes on pre-clinical xenotransplantation assays coupled with lentiviral loss/gain of function strategies, proteomics and global genomics approaches to define candidate stem cell-regulating RNA binding proteins. These investigations are ultimately aimed at identifying nodes of post-transcriptionally controlled pathways central to regeneration and/or leukemia propagation whose tailored modulation through drug screening approaches could provide novel therapeutic possibilities.

Muluken Belew


Muluken is a PhD candidate, who, in addition to his doctoral training to date, has over five years of work experience in biomedical research and cancer biology as a research technician and lab manager at the world-renowned Ontario Cancer institute (OCI) in Toronto and at the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute. His current doctoral thesis research project is aimed at discovering novel transcriptional determinants of normal and leukemic stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. Muluken is a recipient of the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Doctoral Fellowship.

Derek Chan

Derek completed his Honours BSc degree at McMaster University and joined the Hope lab for MD/PhD studies in 2012. His research project focuses on studying how determinants implicated in cell polarity and/or asymmetric cell division may regulate self-renewal of stem cell populations during normal blood development and/or in myeloid leukemia. Derek currently holds a CIHR MD/PhD Studentship.

Michelle Ly

Michelle joined the Hope lab as a senior thesis student in the Biochemistry and Biomedical Research program in the summer of 2014. Michelle is now a first year Masters student interested in studying the activation of a variety of signaling pathways in acute myeloid leukemia and the effects they may have on disease initiation and progression. Michelle has been awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

Nicholas Holzapfel

Nick graduated with an honours BSc from the University of Toronto. During his undergrad thesis project, Nick studied the role of the Musasi-2 protein in breast cancer progression. Nick began a medical degree in 2010 at McMaster University where he joined the lab as a project student to continue Musashi-2 studies. Nick’s interest in research resulted in him transferring into the MD/ PhD program. His doctoral research currently focuses on the identification of novel protein-protein and protein-RNA interactions using molecular techniques such as CLIP-Seq and CRISPR/Cas9. Nick currently holds a CIHR MD/PhD Studentship.

Laura de Rooij


Laura completed her BSc and MSc degrees in biomedical sciences at the University of Amsterdam, where her thesis focused on epigenetic regulation of the Wnt signaling pathway in colon cancer pathogenesis. Laura’s fascination with the cancer stem cell theory led to her to expand her horizons and undertake her PhD studies in the Hope lab. Her research focuses on unraveling the importance of post-transcriptional regulatory networks in leukemic stem cell (LSC) biology, and the potential relevance of targeting these networks as a novel LSC-specific therapeutic strategy. Laura has been supported by McMaster’s International Excellence award and is a recipient of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Young Talent Award.

Stefan Rentas


Stefan is a PhD candidate and joined the team after completing a Master’s degree at Western University. Stefan’s research interests are human hematopoietic stem cell expansion and the application of high-throughput sequencing methods to understand stem cell biology. His work specifically studies the RNA binding protein Musashi-2 and its function and mechanism of action in hematopoietic stem cells. Stefan has been supported by a Canadian Blood Services Graduate Fellowship.

Ana Vujovic


Ana is currently a fourth year undergraduate thesis student. Her research aim is to identify and characterize key regulatory factors regulating self-renewal and differentiation in embryonic and hematopoietic stem cells. Currently, she is focused on using both the mouse and human systems to study the molecular interactions of RNA binding proteins that play important roles in hematopoiesis.

Laura de Rooij, Hope Lab
Stefan Rentas, Hope Lab
Michelle Ly, Hope Lab
Nicholas Holzapfel, Hope Lab
Derek Chan, Hope Lab
Muluken Belew, Hope Lab
Ana Vujovic, Hope Lab

Dr. Kristin Hope  |  Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences  |  Scientist, McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute

Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery, Room 5025  |  McMaster University  |  1280 Main Street West  |  Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8