Our lab focuses on identifying the molecular and morphological mechanisms used to induce and differentiate the naive endoderm into the organs that arise from it, including the liver and pancreas. Understanding how endoderm-derived organs form during normal mammalian embryonic development not only provides insight into understanding what processes are affected in disease and how these abnormalities might be corrected but also provides a roadmap for those who are interested in creating these organs or their functional cell types in vitro.
What have we done?
- Established protocols to culture and manipulate intact mouse embryos from pre- to post-organogenic stages.
- Identified the location and developmental relationships of foregut organ progenitors within the naive endoderm of the mouse embryo.
- Demonstrated that individual hepatoblasts are bi-potent, contributing both hepatocytes and cholangiocytes to the liver.
- Uncovered novel heterogeneity in the molecular induction and morphological contribution of each of the two hepatic progenitors.
- Demonstrated that the dorsal and ventral pancreas bud is each produced by distinct endoderm and mesoderm progenitors.