Differentiation, cell growth and proliferation, apoptosis and senescence are fundamental cellular processes, important for normal development and tissue homeostasie. Our aim is to identify and characterize novel genes and control mechanisms that govern these processes.
One of our major focus is on the early development of the nervous system. We use the frog embryo for these studies, since the decision to form a nervous system takes place very early during development, when mammalian embryos are tiny and inaccessible. In this system, gene expression patterns in the early embryo can be followed by whole-mount in situ hybridization and the use of a combination of classical embryological experiments together with modern biology techniques allows to study gene fonction in the context of the developing embryo. Molecules that are important for frog embryogenesis are also important in mammals, and our research is therefore relevant for understanding normal and abnormal human development.