Tissue homeostasis and regeneration are fundamental to the maintenance of organ function throughout the lifespan of an organism. Therefore, delineating the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways that govern regenerative responses is fundamental to understanding the implications of deregulation in disease and ageing, and a prerequisite for the discovery of novel therapeutic approaches.
Our research is aimed at studying stem cell biology, cell growth, and cellular differentiation in the context of tissue homeostasis, with the overall goal of discovering novel entry points to augment organ regeneration and repair. To this end, we are focusing on the intestine and liver as examples of organs with high regenerative capacity. To advance target discovery and mechanistic understanding of pathway function, we employ complex primary cell and ex vivo organ culture systems as well as mouse models for molecular profiling and genetic or pharmacological manipulation.
Specifically, we are currently interested in delineating the contribution of hepatocytes and their precursors to liver regeneration under conditions of acute or chronic damage. In this context, we also study the contribution of chromatin to controlling cell fate and plasticity.