How do organs measure and control their size?
Over an animal’s life, organ growth is a dynamic spatiotemporal process that is Started (i.e. cells proliferate), Stopped (i.e. proliferation is arrested), and Shaped (i.e. cells are organized into form). Thus, growth rates can change, suggesting that organ size is measured by cells to set or regain proportionality to body size. This entails precision, implying that multiple cell communication mechanisms can regulate growth within an organ – acting alone or together, ensuring size and shape resilience.
Our Goal is to Decode Cellular Communication towards Organ Growth Control!!
We investigate how information is converted into growth, during organ development and regeneration of zebrafish fins, by looking into three biophysical mechanisms of cell communication:
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.
By performing quantitative live imaging and generating new molecular tools, we are exploring the mechanisms that contribute to organ proportions and scaling in vertebrates.