DEVELOPMENT AND RENEWAL OF ECTODERMAL ORGANS
We explore the mechanisms that regulate the formation of ectodermal organs, including teeth, hairs and glands. We focus on signalling networks mediating intercellular communication, and examine how they regulate the patterns, numbers, sizes, and shapes of organs. Most of our projects address the initiation and morphogenesis ectodermal organs, and the maintenance, proliferation and differentiation of epithelial stem and progenitor cells in teeth.
We use mouse models and explant culture techniques to analyse the functions of conserved signal pathways including FGF, TGFbeta, Hedgehog, Wnt and Ectodysplasin. Some of the mice are models for human syndromes such as ectodermal dysplasias, cleidocranial dysplasia, and tooth agenesis.
Our results may have clinical implications in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of congenital defects as well as in the design of regenerative therapies.