“We use the zebrafish as a model to study blood development. Fertilization occurs externally, producing large number of embryos that can be easily manipulated. Importantly, zebrafish blood cells, as well as the molecular pathway necessary to their differentiation have been conserved with other vertebrates.
This allowed the generation of many tools to directly follow the behavior of blood cells in the transparent embryos. Thus, we could show, by combining several approaches, that embryonic hematopoiesis occurs in four successive independent waves, culminating with HSC production from a particular subset of endothelial cells: the hemogenic endothelium.
We will study how this particular hemogenic endothelium is specified from lateral plate mesoderm, focusing on the hemangioblast, to understand the contribution of this elusive precursor to the adult blood system, and study the signals involved in the lineage-decision between the vascular and blood programs.”