Stem cells act in developing and adult organisms to produce the proper number of specialized cells in the body. When stem cells divide, they select a particular division mode that is symmetric or asymmetric. This division mode determines how many specialized and stem cell daughter cells are generated per stem cell division. As stem cells directly affect the future of the organism, it is essential that they choose a division mode that is appropriate for development, maintenance and repair of tissues. Defective division mode selection is implicated in developmental disorders, diseases such as cancer, and ageing.
Group Leader of the Laboratory of Asymmetric Cell Division and Ageing
Neural Stem Cells, Asymmetric Cell Division, Neurogenesis, Cell Biology, Zebrafish Models, Mouse Models
When making decisions on division mode and cell fates, stem cell integrate cell-intrinsic and -extrinsic signals and factors. Although several of these signals and factors have been identified, it is not clear how and when a stem cell selects its division mode and daughter cell fates.
In our research group, we aim to understand how individual stem cells make decisions on division mode and cell fates, and how these decisions affect developing and adult tissues. We employ single-cell analyses, lineage tracing techniques and live imaging to investigate individual neural stem cells and progenitors. We use the zebrafish developing brain as our main model system. In particular, we are interested in the role of fate-determining factors such as signaling pathways and subcellular structures in mediating the outcome of neural stem cell divisions.