In earlier research supported by a MSFHR Masters Trainee Award, Erin Drew disproved theories that CD34, a cell surface protein, was specific to immature blood cells. She found CD34 on immature blood cells, but also on cells lining the blood vessels and on mast cells. Mast cells are known to play a pivotal role in allergic and asthmatic responses. Erin’s work now focuses on CD34’s function in mast cells and how the protein prevents inappropriate adhesion to other cells and tissues. These enquiries will increase new knowledge on how blood cells move around the body and how mast cells can invade tissues and respond to allergens. Ultimately, Erin hopes her work will lead to the identification of targets for the treatment of allergies and asthma.