Stem Cells and Development (Department of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology) – Shahragim Tajbakhsh
Our lab investigates multiple aspects of stem cell biology in the context of development, growth, regeneration, ageing and disease. The focus is on skeletal muscle using genetically modified mice. The context of prenatal and postnatal development is examined in mouse, and processes are considered in an evolutionary context. Basic cellular processes including cell quiescence, modes of proliferation (symmetric/asymmetric) and lineage progression in normal and pathological conditions are being investigated. Pathology models include those that perturb muscle function (ex. Myopathies) or indirectly (ex. influenza virus infection; cancer cachexia).
Human Developmental Genetics (Department of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology) – Ken McElreavey
We are creating human organoids that precisely mimic the in vivo specification and differentiation of the human gonads (ovary or testis) from pluripotent stem cells. These gonadal organoids are used to determine gene regulatory networks involved in regulation of reprogramming, cell fate choice as well as tissue and organ formation. We use these models to study naturally-occuring genetic variants that cause gonadal disease (sex-reversal; physiological tissue homeostasis and its alterations) and how these genetic variants cause tissue/organ remodelling. We have developed these technologies ourselves in the unit from human iPSCs – organoids, gonad on a chip (the later in collaboration with Samy Gobaa).
Epigenomics, Proliferation and the Identity of Cells (Department of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology) – Pablo Navarro Gil
Stem cells derived from early mouse embryos pose a number of exciting questions and unsolved issues that challenge our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms underlying gene regulation. These cells are typically able to self-renew, calling into play mechanisms to ensure the persistence of transcriptional states through replication and mitosis, but also present unparalleled differentiation potential, requiring increased plasticity and capabilities to implement new transcription profiles. We employ omic strategies combined with other molecular, cellular and embryo-based assays to understand how transcription factors and chromatin properties achieve these seemingly opposing requirements.