Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
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Developmental Biology/Physiology

Dr. Lucia Poggi

Dr. Lucia Poggi
Dr. Lucia Poggi
Im Neuenheimer Feld 230
69120 Heidelberg
Fax +49 6221 54-5639
ed.grebledieh-inu.soc TEA iggop.aicul

Cell lineage progression and neural diversification in the vertebrate retina are achieved by coordinated regulation of asymmetric cell division and neuronal subtype identity specification. In my group we aim to understand the complex genetic networks integrating these processes in vivo. To this aim we apply time-lapse imaging in the retina of the optically transparent zebrafish embryo in combination with genetics and cell biology. This integrated approach allows us to concomitantly trace the history of a progenitor cell from its emergence to its extinction, monitor temporal patterns of gene expression and neuronal identity acquisition, and elucidate the underlying molecular regulatory processes. We found that particular inhibitory and excitatory neuronal subtypes share highly reproducible lineages consisting of consecutive asymmetric neurogenic divisions and lineage-restricted transcription factor expression (figure). Building on these results, current research projects in the lab aim to understand (1) the sequence of cell autonomous mechanisms (eg. transcription factor expression, epigenetic states) and interactions with the environment, which underlie such lineage patterns; (2) how these molecular processes intersect to generate asymmetric outcome of cell division. We hope that this understanding will provide insights relevant to questions such as how and why; multipotent stem cells or even resident cells can (or cannot) be encouraged to follow particular pathways of neuronal determination and differentiation. (3) This research will also lay the groundwork for our understanding as to the role of cell lineage on neuronal subtype composition and subsequent assembly of retinal circuits.
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