Research Groups

Research Focus

Tissue maintenance and repair depend on the ability of cells to respond to internal and external cues, proliferate and differentiate into functional components. Aberrant regulation of this response results in disease; hyperproliferation and cancer or tissue degeneration and scar formation. In the Huch lab we exploit both the liver, as a model of extensive regenerative capacity and the pancreas, which exhibits very little regeneration potential, to unveil the biological processes that control adult tissue homeostasis and repair and their deregulation in disease. 

Our experimental strategy involves the combined use of: (1) animal models and (2) in vitro mouse and human organoid models that recapitulate key aspects of mouse and human liver development, proliferation and regeneration in culture, in a controlled environment. 

We take the following approaches:

  1. We study the different subpopulations of liver progenitors during early liver development
  2. We investigate the niche-progenitor relationship during regeneration and in disease
  3. We analyse the epigenetic mechanisms involved in the transition from a differentiated cell to an activated progenitor and from a progenitor to a differentiated cell
  4. We study the cellular heterogeneity and cellular interactions in human cancer 

Our long-term goal is to understand the principles that govern proliferation and differentiation of adult organs and tissues to gain the knowledge required to further develop our organoid cultures and potentially recapitulate organogenesis in vitro.