Research Overview

Our lab focuses on mechanisms regulating stem cell state transitions and fate commitment. Specifically, we study how cells communicate signals from their surroundings to the gene expression machinery, especially in the context of cell fate decisions in development and disease. To delineate principles of stemness, we use in vitro and in vivo models and probe molecular processes critical for the emergence, maintenance, and resolution of stem states in physiological and adverse conditions. Fundamental questions we aim to answer are:

1. How does the early embryo adjust its developmental timing in response to embryonic and maternal signals? (Mechanisms of embryonic diapause)

2. How is pluripotency resolved in favorable conditions? (Early events in pluripotency exit)

3. How do uterine conditions affect developmental fitness and gene expression programs? (Gene-environment interactions)

4. How do pluripotent cells fend off heterochromatin to retain flexible gene expression programs? (Euchromatin-heterochromatin crosstalk in stem cells)

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