Our research is in the novel area of Developmental Genomics and Regenerative Medicine with a focus on the molecular mechanisms controlling vertebral column development and an emphasis on early embryogenesis and embryonic stem cell commitment to specific differentiation pathways, but from a novel Systems Biology point of view. We use both mouse and zebrafish as model animals. In particular we are working on understanding the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that govern normal embryonic development of the vertebral column and intervertebral disc (IVD). We are investigating the role of transcriptional regulators in the restriction of pluripotent embryonic stem cells into specific lineages that in turn comprise functional pre and postnatal vertebral elements with the goal of applying this knowledge to regenerative medicine using patient- specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and adult mesenchymal stem cells.
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