Our Research Focus

Our research focuses on studying the molecular signaling systems and transcriptional networks that orchestrate organogenesis during embryonic development. To this aim we use mostly the mouse with its superbe genetics as a model embryo. The developing embryo is a stunning testimony to the intricate mechanisms that control patterning and differentiation of functional tissues and organs and to the evolutionary variations in these mechanisms that gave rise to the diversity of modern vertebrates. One of our main focuses is to study the self-regulatory signaling systems and gene regulatory networks that control vertebrate limb development. We also study the molecular alterations underlying their evolutionary diversification, which enabled modern vertebrates to conquer an amazing range of different habits and to adapt their limbs to specialized uses such as fast running, digging, climbing and flying. In our research, we combine state-of-the art mouse genetics (CRISPR/Cas9) with genome-wide, transcriptional and chromatin analysis (ChIP, 4C) and classical comparative analysis of limb bud development using embryos of different species (mouse, bovine, pig and chicken). Last but not least, we explore the relevance of our findings for understanding the molecular aetiology of congenital malformations and cancer; and stem cells and regenerative medicine.

Recent Publications

Lopez-Rios J., et al. 2014


Attenuated sensing of SHH by Ptch1 underlies evolution of bovine limbs.

Osterwalder M., et al. 2014


HAND2 Targets Define a Network of Transcriptional Regulators that Compartmentalize the Early Limb Bud Mesenchyme.

Our Team

Principle Investigators
Graduate Students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Research Assistants