Stem Cells, Development, Regeneration
Scientists at the Vienna BioCenter are using their cutting-edge research infrastructure to uncover the signaling steps and regulatory mechanisms that control tissue, organ, and organismal development. This area of research has enormous biological and medical relevance, providing insights into developmental diseases and cancer, as well as tissue and organ regeneration.
The development of a complex, multicellular organism from a single cell is one of the most fascinating processes in biology. At the heart of this process are stem cells, which are not only key during development but also for the homeostasis and regeneration of adult tissues. The Vienna BioCenter is an internationally acclaimed stem cell research center, fostering practical training and bioethics discussions, and hosting an annual, international stem cell symposium, SY-Stem, which focuses on shaping the next generation of stem cell researchers.
By following stem cells and their prodigy over the course of differentiation and development, scientists at the Vienna BioCenter are learning how undifferentiated cells either acquire tissue-specific properties or divide to produce more stem cells. They also study how differentiated cells can be reprogrammed back to pluripotency. The mechanisms whereby self-renewal is established, maintained, and lost often involve gene regulation and epigenetics. Researchers at the Vienna BioCenter use their novel insights into these mechanisms to discover how adult tissue stem cells (including those of the nervous system, hematopoietic system, and heart) support homeostasis and regeneration, and how tumor stem cells cause cancer.
The developmental biology research focuses on embryogenesis and organogenesis, including brain and heart development, while regeneration research includes work in worms, as well as salamanders, which have the remarkable ability to regenerate their limbs and spinal cords.
‘Organoids’ have become invaluable tools for studying development. These 3D ‘mini-organs’ recapitulate organ development in vitro and can also be derived from patients to study the effects of specific, natural mutations and to screen for effective therapeutics. Scientists at the Vienna BioCenter produced the first brain organoids and also work with gut, spinal cord, heart, and retinal organoids.
Another major technological advance came from the discovery of haploid embryonic stem cells in mice, allowing systematic genetic screens in mammals to identify novel players in stem cell maintenance and exit from self-renewal, which are both key mechanisms underlying development and disease.
|Baccarini||Max Perutz Labs||Deciphering the MAPK pathway in vivo|
|Bell||IMBA||Mechanisms of epigenetic memory|
|Brennecke||IMBA||Transposon silencing & heterochromatin formation by small RNAs|
|Buecker||Max Perutz Labs||Transcriptional Regulation during Early Embryonic Development|
|Busslinger||IMP||Stem cell commitment in haematopoiesis|
|Cochella||IMP||Transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms of cell-type specification|
|Elling||IMBA||Functional genomics in embryonic stem cells|
|Jantsch||Max Perutz Labs||Meiosis in C. elegans|
|Keays||IMP||Neuronal migration and magnetoreception|
|Knoblich||IMBA||Brain development and disease|
|Koo||IMBA||Homeostatic regulation of adult stem cells|
|Leeb||Max Perutz Labs||Molecular control of cell fate decisions|
|Mendjan||IMBA||Molecular control of human organogenesis|
|Mittelsten Scheid||GMI||Epigenetic Changes in Plants|
|Nodine||GMI||Small RNA Functions in Plant Embryos|
|Obenauf||IMP||Molecular mechanisms of metastasis and drug resistance|
|Pauli||IMP||Functions of short translated open reading frames (ORFs) in the context of development|
|Penninger||IMBA||Modeling human disease|
|Raible||Max Perutz Labs||Origin and Diversification of Hormone Systems|
|Tachibana||IMBA||Chromatin reprogramming in totipotent stem cells|
|Tanaka||IMP||Molecular mechanisms of vertebrate regeneration|
|Urban||IMBA||Systemic regulation of adult neurogenesis|
|Weitzer||Max Perutz Labs||Somatic Stem Cells of the Heart|