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Identifying Pathways and Mechanisms Involved in Stem Cell Self-Renewal and Differentiation
Distinct organs often contain a resident population of organ-specific stem cells that enable tissue-specific regeneration throughout most of adult life. Recent findings suggest that cell fate decisions made by cells in their past are not irrevocable but might be reverted and reprogrammed. This dynamic concept of a cell’s fate corresponds with the established view that maintenance of a cellular phenotype does not reflect a static state but rather requires continuous regulation. This phenomenon enables to redirect and manipulate cells and enhance regenerative properties of tissues and organs provided that the molecular mechanisms in regulating cellular phenotype are known.
A major goal of our research is to elucidate processes that govern the self-renewal and coordinated differentiation of stem cells during development and regeneration. We aim at reaching an understanding of stem cell mediated tissue regeneration and of how defects in these processes can lead to the manifestation of human disease including cancer, or to the progressive loss of regenerative potential during disease and physiological aging. To this end, we integrate systems biological pipelines and develop both in vitro models and tissue specific knockout mice to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in determining cell fate decisions.
Applications for positions are welcome.
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