The tissue microenvironment cooperates with intrinsic molecular regulators to model cell identity and plasticity. In the Gerri lab, we are interested in studying how cell lineages are established, and how they communicate with each other and the surrounding microenvironment to build an organ. Our goal is to understand how the environmental cues and the neighbouring tissues influence early cell fate decisions, and how progenitor cells interpret these signals and react, thereby affecting their surroundings. We aim to study a very enigmatic process of mammalian reproduction: the development of the placenta. By investigating the formation of the fetal placental progenitors and their interactions with the maternal tissues, we hope to understand the principles orchestrating this unique biunivocal crosstalk regulating cell specification and differentiation in two distinct organisms.
To achieve these fundamental questions, we leverage mammalian preimplantation embryos, genetics and quantitative confocal imaging. In addition, we are also using 3D organoid culture systems, live imaging and microfluidics to model placenta development in vitro.
To gain further mechanistic insights, we would also like to collaborate closely with biophysicists as well as computer scientists at the MPI-CBG and the Dresden Campus.
We believe that understanding the interplay between cell fate specification, external microenvironmental cues and tissue scale forces is essential to uncover the principles underlying robust organ morphogenesis during development.
* joint first author
# joint corresponding author