Chee Jia (Julia) Chin, MS is a PhD candidate in the Cellular and Molecular Pathology program at UCLA. Her thesis research focuses on understanding the extrinsic factors/microenvironment that are important for hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) maintenance and that can facilitate generation of HSC from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC). With funding from the International Fulbright Science and Technology Award, she has focused during the first stage of her PhD thesis on how mesenchymal components in the bone marrow niche regulate HSC. Her work led to a publication describing a novel population of cells identified as CD146+ pericytes in the human fetal bone marrow and the adult fat tissues that are functionally distinct from other mesenchymal cells in their ability to maintain repopulating HSCs. Prior to joining UCLA, Julia earned her Masters degree in Bioscience at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, where she spearheaded the set-up and build-out of a new research laboratory in stem cell biology. During her free time, she loves to travel with a Lonely Planet, try interesting food and optimize her cooking skills with support from the lovely Crooks lab members.