Our laboratory has started operating at EPFL in 2007. Its major aim is to study gene regulation during mammalian embryological development by using the recent tools of functional genomics. A special focus is given to the study of how Hox genes transcription is deployed during axial extension, in both space and time. These genes have a special interest in the study of our ontogeny (our development as individuals) and our phylogeny (our origin as a group of individuals) and the detailed understanding of their regulations and functions will be an important step in understanding of own development and evolution.
To achieve this task, we use as experimental systems both the developing mouse embryo in vivo, and ES-cells derived pseudo-embryos (gastruloids) cultured in vitro. The latter system is a good paradigm to visualize axial extension and to study its underlying molecular, genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, whereas the former allows to eventually verify the validity of the results obtained in vitro.