Modeling Embryogenesis and Synthetic Developmental Biology

Synthetic chemistry revolutionized chemistry via a “create-to-understand” approach that enabled the modern-day pharmaceutical industries. Synthetic approach to embryogenesis (Synthetic developmental biology) can offer a similar path to study development, providing a bottom-up engineering approach via design-build-test cycles. It involves building de novo developmental trajectories or engineering control in stem cell-derived multicellular systems.

 

Robust, scalable and easy to use models of embryogenesis will be central for real-time interrogation of developmental processes. Our research in this area aim to develop novel models to study embryogenesis in vitro. We are interested to understand the robustness of natural developmental systems, underpin fate-form-function relationships and why in some cases this processes fail to produce the expected outcomes. This knowledge will be key to understand disease processes and for the development of novel therapeutics.

“four-day-old iDiscoids”

Rational Design vs Natural Development:

Can we produce novel designs for how tissues are developed?

Selected references:

1. Synthetic developmental biology: build and control multicellular systems. Current opinion in chemical biology. 2019 Oct 1;52:9-15.

2. Programming Morphogenesis through Systems and Synthetic Biology. Trends in Biotechnology. 2018 Apr;36(4):415-429.

3. Genetically engineering self-organization of human pluripotent stem cells into a liver bud-like tissue using Gata6. Nat Commun. 2016 Jan 6;7:10243. 

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