Stem cell-based genesis
Stem cells are the seeds of organisms, with the capacity to multiply, generate specialized cells, and organize into sophistically patterned and functional tissues and organs. Stem cells achieve such complex behaviour via their genetically encoded molecular networks and communication mechanisms, which allow them to take both autonomous and coordinated decisions.
We seek for the general principles underlying the organization of stem cells that lead to the formation of organisms. To reveal these principles, we form models of organisms in-a-dish by harnessing the intrinsic potential of stem cells to self-organize. This approach allows to more systematically modulate and analyse behaviour, while generating large numbers of embryo models for drug and genetic screens, biochemistry and genomic analysis.
Our group gathers scientists and engineers whose research is grounded in fundamental stem cell biology and in technological and computational approaches (e.g. microsystems, single cell sequencing, three-dimensional high content screens). We develop these novel stem cell-based embryo models not only to investigate the design principles governing development but also with the long-term goal of improving the global health problem of managing early pregnancy.