The main research focus of our team is the molecular
dissection of the signaling mechanisms that control
morphogenetic processes and gene networks
involved in thyroid organogenesis.
To date, the signaling mechanisms that control the
specification of endoderm-derived organs such as the
thyroid, lung, liver or pancreas remain poorly understood.
To tackle the question "how different cell types
are specified from the gut endoderm?", we use the
thyroid as experimental model..
Thyroid organogenesis can be grossly divided into 3
phases comprising (a) thyroid precursor cell specification,
(b) budding and migration of the thyroid primordium,
and (c) functional differentiation of thyroid
While some factors critical for migration, differentiation
and growth of the thyroid primordium have been
identified in mouse knock-out models, little is known
about the molecular events involved in thyroid precursors
A crucial aspect of our working strategy is the combination
of various experimental models including
mouse, Zébrafish and embryonic stem cells to delineate
the molecular basis of thyroid morphogenesis.