We study regulators of liver development to explore endodermal progenitor cell specification, organ differentiation, and growth.
Our laboratory seeks to understand the signals that indicate organ injury and regulate growth and regeneration. The inability to recover from acute injury can lead to organ failure, while a dysregulated regenerative response in the setting of chronic injury may contribute to cancer formation. Our specific interest is to define the similarities between development and regeneration of the liver, an important organ for the organism’s metabolism and protein synthesis with remarkable regenerative capacities. We investigate zebrafish as the primary model to discover novel regulatory pathways of liver development and evaluate their importance for recovery after toxic and physical injury. Using chemical and genetic modulation, we assess organ formation, repair and carcinogenesis by in vivo imaging, functional genomic methods, and histological analysis to define the principal molecular and cellular mechanisms essential for organ growth.