Velten Lab

Velten LabVelten Lab

Bioinformatics and Genomics

Velten Lab
Single Cell and Synthetic Genomics of Blood Formation
Group leader

Velten Lab

Single Cell and Synthetic Genomics of Blood Formation
Group leader

2020-Today Group Leader at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Barcelona, Spain
2016-2019 Research Staff Scientist, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg (Germany)
2012-2016 Ph.D. in Genomics, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg (Germany)
2012 M.Sc. in Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg (Germany)

Summary

The Velten lab uses single-cell and synthetic genomics, high-throughput genetic screens and artificial intelligence to study the genomic regulation of differentiation programs in hematopoietic and leukemic stem cells.

The hematopoietic system supplies our bodies with a trillion new blood cells per day, and constitutes one of the most sophisticated regenerative systems in biology. Evidently, the ability to create this massive number of cells puts the system at high risk of accumulating mutations. In the blood forming system, this risk is mitigated by the existence of mostly non-dividing long-term stem cells. The key questions that drive our work are first, how is the lineage differentiation and activation of blood stem cells regulated? And second, how are the blood stem cell identities altered in leukemia?

To answer these questions, we develop and apply cutting edge genomic and bioinformatic methods. We have pioneered the application of single-cell genomics to characterize the blood forming system. Thereby, we have redefined the cellular routes of differentiation in human hematopoiesis (Velten et al., 2017), and we have compiled the most comprehensive maps of adult bone marrow hematopoietic (Triana et al., 2021) and mesenchymal (Baccin et al., 2020) cells available. Our current work in the single-cell genomics space is focused on aberrations encountered in leukemia (Velten et al., 2021).

An emerging technology to study gene regulation is synthetic genomics. Increased abilities to synthesize DNA enable massively parallel functional genomics experiments. Building on past work on CRSIPR screens in single cells (Schraivogel et al., 2020), we are now working on controlling gene expression in blood stem cells by synthetic DNA at various levels. Our long-term vision is to enable a predictive understanding of gene regulation in the blood forming system.

News

Researchers at the CRG receive €4.5m to study cancer, reproduction and blood formation (01/01/2022)
Lars Velten, Group Leader at the CRG, will combine deep learning and single-cell screening techniques to create new models of gene regulation in the human blood-forming system. 

Cell atlas of human blood formation paves way for improved diagnostics (29/11/2021)
Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, EMBL Heidelberg, the German Cancer Research Center and the Berlin Institute of Health have created the most detailed atlas of gene expression of human blood and bone marrow cells to date.

Single cell sequencing opens new avenues for eradicating leukemia at its source (01/03/2021).
We have published our method to identify and characterize leukemic stem cells by single cell genomics.

€2.45 m to investigate leukaemia causes and therapies (11/03/2020).
Together with partners from the University Clinics Heidelberg and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (Berlin), we form part of the LeukoSyStem consortium that was awarded with a prestigious junior research alliance grant by the German government.

Job Openings

We are very interested in applications of prospective postdocs and PhD students with an interest in hematopoietic stem cell biology, gene regulation, single cell genomics, single cell genetic screens and/or machine learning.

Funding acknowledgements

The project "Single cell genomics for synthetic biology of gene regulatory element" (PID2019-108082GA-I00 / AEI / 10.13039/501100011033) has received funding from the National Research Agency (Agencia Estatal de Investigación, AEI), from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.