We study birth defects and regeneration
Organogenesis is regulated by several inductive factors, such as Wnts. Incorrect activity and timing of these signaling pathways during early development frequently result in embryonic death or severe birth defects. We are investigating the mechanism and prevention of birth defects mainly using Wnt signaling mutant mice as the research model. We are also investigating the role of Wnt signaling in stem cell/progenitor renewal and regeneration processes in order to enhance their therapeutic potential.
* From the aspect of congenital disease, we are investigating the mechanism and prevention of several major birth defects related to tissue closure and patterning in Wnt signaling mutant animal models, such as:
Orofacial cleft (OFC), defective tissue closure in the upper lip, palate, and related orofacial structures, including cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CLP) and isolated cleft palate;
Neural tube defect (NTD), defective closure of the neural tube (the precursor of brain and spinal cord), including spina bifida (open spine) and exencephaly (open skull/brain);
and other congenital disorders in several major organs, including the brain, heart, and kidney.
* From the aspect of stem cell biology, we are addressing the role of Wnt signaling in tissue/organ-specific stem cells such as neural crest cells, neural stem cells or radial glia during development and regeneration.