PoL – Physics of Life | Organ Growth Control

Organ Growth Control

During animal development, organs need to grow in a proportional manner with respect to body size.

​Our goal is to understand, in a quantitative way, how morphogens can regulate and contribute to organ growth.

​Interestingly, during zebrafish pectoral fin development, we have found two BMP signalling gradients that are crucial to achieve pectoral fin proportionality. These are exponential concentration gradients that scale with the growing fin. Importantly, manipulation of the gradients leads to small fins.

​By performing quantitative live imaging and generating new molecular tools, we are exploring the mechanisms that contribute to gradient scaling in vertebrates.

Future Projects and Goals

We want to investigate how information is converted into growth, in development and in regeneration, by looking into:

  • Electrical ion flows – to study the propagation of ion flows as triggers for growth acceleration.
  • Chemical signaling gradients – to test whether cells can detect the fold-change of morphogen concentration gradients over time.
  • Mechanical forces – to investigate how growth anisotropy can link mechanical forces to stereotypical organ pattern.