Inside My Lab: Kristian Helin

VIDEO | 02:04

Go inside the lab of Kristian Helin from SKI’s Cell Biology Program.

Show transcript

To be a scientist is a privilege, because you have a goal for what you like to do. You have to follow the goals you want to achieve and go to the places that will support that. My name is Kristian Helin. I am the chair of the cell biology program at the Sloan Kettering Institute. I'm also the director of the Center for Epigenetics Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Inside my lab, we are trying to understand why a cell decides to be the cell it is. And we think epigenetics is key to understand why a cell becomes what it is.

"... over expressed protein and here is the degradation in two hours."

We are also trying to understand how we use that information to develop new therapies to treat cancer patients. We work on different types of cancer, particularly leukemia and gliomas. And so normally, what the people in my lab do is to choose projects within that area.

"If it is expressed higher, we may also have higher signal for this histone modification."

What I'm looking for in people joining my lab is a spark. They have an idea what they want to do. But they also like to be team players to work together with other people. I am the head of the laboratory, but there are many beautiful ideas in my lab. And those are the ones we try to explore. I try to give feedback as well as I can. But I also listen too, so it's a dialogue. So that collaborative spirit is extremely important.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is a fantastic place to work. There's a possibility to do all types of research you like to do. At the same time, this basic research, if you are interested, you can actually match up with clinicians who are trying to develop new therapies.