Stem and progenitor cells play critical roles in tissue formation, maintenance and repair. Fate diversification of embryonic progenitors is a major driving force behind the emergence of various organs with distinct morphological and functional attributes. Postnatally, tissue/organ resident stem and progenitor cells regulate tissue homeostasis and drive regenerative responses following tissue loss due to injury, inflammation, or age.
We seek to understand how craniofacial stem and progenitor cell function relates to the maintenance and regeneration of tissues such as the salivary glands, teeth and their supporting structures, and oral mucosa. Furthermore, several neural crest-related genetic diseases (neurocristopathies) directly correlate with impaired developmental processes, such as progenitor migration, differentiation and cell death, and their study can lead to effective therapeutic interventions for craniofacial congenital defects.
To this end, we use a wide variety of tools and approaches, such as biochemical and molecular methods, animal models, primary cell cultures and genomic and bioinformatic approaches (single cell RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq).