Our lab uses zebrafish as a genetic model system to understand how hematopoietic and cardiac progenitor/stem cell populations are established during vertebrate development. The zebrafish system offers excellent genetic, genomic, and transplantation strategies to study progenitor fate determination and stem cell biology. As the developmental genetics of organ formation are highly conserved between teleosts and mammals, the pathways affecting fate decisions in zebrafish can be directly compared to that of humans. Therefore, these analyses will allow the programs integral to embryogenesis, organ function, and disease to be experimentally manipulated. We are currently using small molecule chemical screens, morpholino-mediated gene knockdown, and transgenic approaches to decipher the fundamental pathways governing stem cell fate decisions.
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