Research in my laboratory is focused on the early development of human tissue-specific stem cells. Mostly my laboratory studies cells of the fetal liver to better understand hematopoietic, immune and hepatic development. Both hematopoietic and hepatic tissues share the same organ during fetal development but are considered to arise from separate embryological tissues. Our work has helped to identify hematopoietic and hepatic progenitor populations in the liver and some of the cytokines that regulate their growth. A driving force behind my basic research efforts is a desire for the research to be clinically applicable, particularly in the field of fetal therapy. Fetal cellular therapy, the transplantation of cells into a fetus, has the potential of ameliorating or curing a large number of birth defects. However, the current practice of in utero stem cell transplantation is not yet effective enough to treat most hematopoietic or hepatic birth defects. Work in my laboratory is using mouse models of in utero transplantation to study methods of improving engraftment of foreign cells by prenatal transplantation.