Figure 1The Huppert Lab is interested in intercellular signaling pathways that regulate cell fate decisions and lineage restriction during organogenesis and adult cell population renewal. Our projects use genetic, chemical and surgical mouse models, as well as primary cell lines to answer questions related to liver development and regeneration.

The liver is a vital organ for metabolism and homeostasis and has the highest regenerative capacity of all parenchymal organs. The architecture of the liver biliary and vasculature systems is absolutely crucial for the overall health of the organ and the ability to perform its endocrine and exocrine functions. Generating continuity between canalicular networks and establishing the biliary and vascular systems within the growing parenchymal mass involves finely tuned complex morphological and molecular mechanisms. The lack of knowledge relating important hepatic dimensional aspects limits our understanding of how paracrine and autocrine signals directly regulate or indirectly influence the intact communicating architecture and physiology. Our long-term goal is to define the molecular factors and cellular contribution required for formation of the two- and three-dimensional hepatic architecture, during hepatic morphogenesis, homeostasis and regeneration.

It is our hope that by elucidating the molecular mechanisms that guide cell-cell communication, epithelial-mesenchymal interactions and lineage restriction in the liver, we will gain novel insights into how defects in normal processes are dysregulated in congenital and chronic liver diseases.

The Huppert Lab trains graduate students who are in the Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program, and the Cancer and Cell Biology Graduate Program.