Using a combination of animal models and human pluripotent stem cells we investigate the molecular programs controlling development of the digestive and respiratory organs. Our recent single cell transcriptomic studies revealed a roadmap of the combinatorial growth factor signaling that controls foregut organogenesis. Explore the interactive foregut single cell atlas. The work informs novel strategies to generate human organoids with complex epithelial and mesenchyme tissues for regenerative medicine. Learn more about our human organoid work in CuSTOM.
Genomic Regulatory Networks
With cutting-edge genomics we investigate how cell signaling and transcription factors control the gene regulatory networks that direct endoderm progenitor cell identity in the early embryo. Current studies focus on 1) how Sox transcription factors and beta-catenin bind chromatin to provide specificity to Wnt signaling, and 2) how Retinoic acid modulates enhancer epigenetics to control developmental competence.
Disruptions to the genetic programs controlling fetal organ formation can result in birth defects. We are a founding member of the CLEARconsortium.org, a collaborative research program including clinicians, human geneticists and developmental biologist dedicated to discovering the genetic cause of trachea-esophageal birth defects. Our goal is to understand the origin of these conditions, enhance diagnosis and improve treatment.
Animals such as the frog Xenopus have long been used to model human biology and disease. Discoveries in Xenopus have led to much of our understanding of the conserved genetic and cellular program controlling embryonic development. We helped establish and maintain Xenbase, the NIH-funded Xenopus model organism data base, which curates all of the biological and genomic data from Xenopus research making it available to the international scientific community. Learn more about Xenbase.