My laboratory branches out into several different directions of research. We seek to understand how stem cells use the apoptotic machinery for their elimination and the effect this has on different aspects of stem cell biology and stem cell–dependent processes. We have established a comprehensive in vivo system that enables us to investigate the function and regulation of key apoptotic proteins in distinct stem cell populations. By combining advanced multicolor lineage tracing with intravital imaging, we examine how the manipulation of apoptotic pathways affects not only stem cells but also their progeny during regeneration and tumor development.
We recently started to explore how the apoptotic machinery can be harnessed for various functions outside the realm of cell death. Intriguingly, we find that “apoptotic” proteins regulate cell proliferation, organ size, and tissue regeneration independently of their function in apoptosis.
In addition, we seek to uncover novel stem cell populations and elucidate the role they play in tissue homeostasis, tissue repair, and tumor formation. We also have recently established novel organoid platforms and use them as models for understanding the behavior and contribution of different stem cells.
It is our hope that our research may be translated into novel stem cell and apoptosis-based approaches for regenerative medicine and tumor therapy.