Sumeet Pal Singh

Our research

Our research studies the cellular basis of organ development and maintenance. We want to understand how cells unify into a collective, while maintaining their individual identity. We develop experiments to test how the balance between individuality and conformity impacts the ability of the organs in responding to the ever-changing and random external environment.

Lab Website: SinghLab@IRIBHM

Zebrafish islet with multi-color labeled beta-cells

Research Projects:

How do cells multi-task?

Our research interest lies in understanding the organizational principles underlying a cellular community. Similar to human society, cellular societies (organs) are required to efficiently multi-task in order to survive in an ever-changing environment. We want to understand how cells distribute the various tasks among themselves to achieve multi-tasking.

In the lab, we focus on the balance between cell-cycle and function to understand how tradeoffs sculpt cellular heterogeneity. For organs without a bona-fide stem cell population, the demand for organ growth and function can be balanced via two potential strategies: i) As an ‘egalitarian’ strategy, where all cells contribute equally; or ii) an ‘elitist’ strategy, where cells are specialized towards proliferative and functional capacities, generating population heterogeneity.

Using the model of two endocrine organs, the thyroid gland and pancreatic beta-cells, we investigate if the responsibility of cellular proliferation is shared equally among the differentiated cells, or are the cells segregated into proliferative and functional (quiescent) sub-populations. We utilize endocrine organs as model systems due to their importance in the metabolic functions of the body. Disorders of thyroid gland and beta-cells (diabetes) inflict almost 100 million and 425 million people worldwide, respectively.

Live Imaging at cellular resolution

For cooperative behavior to develop in human or cellular society, efficient communication is necessary. In cells, communication involves listening to external stimulus and translating it into intercellular signaling. We are interested in live imaging of the intercellular signaling pathways at single-cell resolution to gain insights into the communication underlying cooperative behavior; and modulating it to understand its role during disease development.

Our lab is interested in developing tools for live imaging of signaling pathways, specifically the calcium and cAMP signaling pathways. For this, we are looking for a highly motivated and passionate PhD student to join the group.  

Group members

Sumeet Pal Singh, PhD – Group Leader

Sumeet obtained his B.Tech. from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur in 2008, and his PhD in 2013 from Duke University under the supervision of Dr. Kenneth Poss. His doctoral thesis was focussed on the cellular basis of bone regeneration in the zebrafish fin amputation model. He then pursued his postdoctoral training at CRTD, Dresden, Germany in the laboratory of Dr. Nikolay Ninov on functional and proliferative heterogeneity in the pancreatic beta-cells. His post-doc was supported by fellowships from EFSD/Lilly. He joined the faculty of IRIBHM at ULB in 2019, with a MISU starting grant from FNRS.

Elif Eski – PhD Student

The lab’s first PhD student, is joining on 01 November, 2019! She obtained her M.Sc. degree from Bogazici University, Turkey. During her master’s thesis under the supervision of Dr. Stefan H. Fuss, she focussed on the role of Wnt/β-catenin signaling during regenerative neurogenesis in adult zebrafish olfactory epithelium.

Inés Garteizgogeascoa Suñer – PhD Student

Inés Garteizgogeascoa Suñer graduated in Biochemistry from University Autónoma de Madrid, Spain; followed by a M.Sc. degree in Integrative Biology and Physiology from University Claude Bernard de Lyon, France (2019). During her master’s thesis under the supervision of Dr. Karine Gauthier and Dr.Fréderic Flamant, she focused on studying thyroid hormone-mediated thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue in mice. She was able to identify potential new thermogenic pathways, independent from UCP-1 classic mechanism, regulated by thyroid hormone in response to prolonged cold exposure. She joined the SinghLab in 2020 to work on developing tools for imaging of signalling pathways in zebrafish thyroid gland.

Macarena Pozo Morales – PhD Student

Macarena Pozo Morales graduated in Biochemistry at the University of Málaga (Spain) in 2018, where she focused on studying pharmacogenetic response to Tacrolimus in kidney transplantation, under the supervision of Dr. Mª José Bravo Romero. Later, she obtained her M.Sc. degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at University of Málaga in 2019.
During her master’s thesis under the supervision of Dr. Mª Ángeles Real Avilés and Dr. Alicia Rivera Ramírez, she focused on determining the role of dopaminergic D4 receptor on the effect of cocaine in caudate putamen in rat. She joined the SinghLab in 2020 where she’s performing her PhD focused on the impact of inflammation on thyroid development, homeostasis and aging using zebrafish as a model.


Selected Publications:

M. Romitti, S. E. Eski, B. F. Fonseca, S. P. Singh, and S. Costagliola,  “Single-cell trajectory inference guided enhancement of thyroid maturation in vitro using TGF-beta inhibition,” Front Endocrinol12, 657195 (2021).

M. I. Pronobis, S. Zheng, S. P. Singh, and K. D. Poss,  “In vivo proximity labeling identifies cardiomyocyte protein networks during zebrafish heart regeneration,” bioRxiv, p. 2021.01.19.427246, Jan. 2021.

P. Gillotay, M. P. Shankar, S. E. Eski, S. Reinhardt, A. Kraenkel, J. Blaesche, A. Petzold, G. Kesavan, C. Lange, M. Brand, V. Detours, S. Costagliola, and S. P. Singh,  “Single-cell transcriptome analysis reveals cell-cell communication and thyrocyte diversity in the zebrafish thyroid gland, EMBO Rep, vol. n/a, no. n/a, p. e50612, Nov. 2020.

Sumeet Pal Singh§, Sharan Janjuha, Samata Chaudhuri, Susanne Reinhardt, Annekathrin Kränkel, Sevina Dietz, Anne Eugster, Halil Bilgin, Selçuk Korkmaz, Gökmen Zararsız, Nikolay Ninov & John E. Reid (2019). Machine learning based classification of cells into chronological stages using single-cell transcriptomics. Scientific Reports. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-35218-5
§Corresponding author

Sharan Janjuha*, Sumeet Pal Singh*, Nikolay Ninov (2018). Analysis of Beta-cell Function Using Single-cell Resolution Calcium Imaging in Zebrafish Islets. Journal of Visualized Experiments. doi:10.3791/57851
* Co-Authors

Sharan Janjuha*, Sumeet Pal Singh*, Anastasia Tsakmaki, S Neda Mousavy Gharavy, Priyanka Murawala, Judith Konantz, Sarah Birke, David J Hodson, Guy A Rutter, Gavin A Bewick, Nikolay Ninov (2018). Age-related islet inflammation marks the proliferative decline of pancreatic beta-cells in zebrafish. eLife. doi:10.7554/eLife.32965
* Co-Authors

Sumeet Pal Singh, Sharan Janjuha, Theresa Hartmann, Özge Kayisoglu, Judith Konantz, Sarah Birke, Priyanka Murawala, Ezzaldin Ahmed Alfar, Kei Murata, Anne Eugster, Naoki Tsuji, Edward R. Morrissey, Michael Brand & Nikolay Ninov (2017). Different developmental histories of beta-cells generate functional and proliferative heterogeneity during islet growth. Nature Communications. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00461-3

Sumeet Pal Singh, Jennifer E. Holdway, Kenneth D. Poss (2012). Regeneration of amputated zebrafish fin rays from de novo osteoblasts. Developmental Cell. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2012.03.006