The adult human body consists of trillions of cells. These cells are the building blocks for every organ and tissue in the body. During our lifetime, cells are constantly lost at different speeds due to natural turnover or damage. Extreme examples include the intestinal epithelium and the cardiomyocytes of the heart, with respective cellular turnover times of several days to nearly a lifetime. Adult stem cells are cells that have the capacity to replace lost cells through cell division. The research conducted in my PhD thesis is focussed on modeling adult stem cells and their progeny. Studying adult stem cell identity and function is important to understand how organs function on a cellular level and what goes wrong during disease. Every organ and every animal has its own strategy to exploit adult stem cells and to replace lost tissue. We have used in vivo lineage tracing and in vitro organoid technology to study a variety of organs in different vertebrates. We generated an unbiased map of proliferating cells and their progeny in neonatal, adult, and post damage murine hearts. Elucidating the proliferative populations of the heart important to survive a cardiac infarct. Using organoid technology, we established in vitro models of the human lacrimal gland and the snake venom gland. While both organs display unique biological properties, we uncover surprising similar adult stem cell behaviour. In short, my research describes new experimental models to study vertebrate adult stem cells and uncover their potential.
|Award date||21 Sep 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 21 Sep 2020|