Understanding the mechanisms that safeguard cell identities is key to improving cell fate reprogramming, which has great biological and medical relevance for prospective tissue replacement therapies.
We are using the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) as a powerful genetic model organism to study cellular reprogramming. The mission of our lab is to genetically identify and characterize factors that form a barrier for transcription factor-induced cellular reprogramming. Building on successful validation of chromatin regulators acting as reprogramming barriers in C. elegans as well as Human, we continue to study whether more of our newly identified factors have conserved functions.
Strikingly, a number of our identified barrier factors are implicated in Aging regulation suggesting a link between safeguarding cell fates, cellular homeostasis and the control of lifespan.
Based on the large number of homologous genes among C. elegans and Humans our research reveals conserved mechanisms that act as barriers to cellular reprogramming and play important roles during Aging and tissue homeostasis.
Past and present funding sources:
Worms are beautiful!