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Research in the Georgiades Lab 


Our research centers on understanding the molecular and cellular basis of mammalian development (embryonic and extraembryonic) using molecular, cellular and embryological techniques on mouse embryos and stem cells. Our discoveries have been published in international scientific journals such as “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)”, “Development”, "Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications", “Placenta” and “Nature Communications”.




Our research is expected to contribute to:

(a) The understanding of the extraembryonic causes of common pregnancy complications such as unexplained miscarriage, intrauterine growth retardation and preeclampsia.

(b) Advancement of Regenerative Medicine. This involves the understanding of how organs form (using placenta formation as a model) and how the embryonic germ layers form (an important prerequisite for organogenesis within the embryo).



We are currently focused on 3 poorly understood, but medically important, research areas:



(1) Early development of the epiblast (progenitor of the fetus) in vivo and in vitro:  



The emphasis here is on investigating the formation and early differentiation of the three embryonic germ layers (the progenitors of all organs of the newborn) from the epiblast (the undifferentiated progenitor of the newborn). These germ layers are the ectoderm (progenitor of brain/spinal cord and epidermis), mesoderm and endoderm. The experiments here include molecular and cellular investigations of cultured whole embryos (with or without microsurgical tissue ablation), cultured microsurgically isolated epiblast explants, cultured embryo-derived stem cells and in vivo developed embryos (with or without specific gene manipulations).



(2) Organogenesis of the placenta (the major extraembryonic organ) in vivo and in vitro:



We view placenta formation as a model of organogenesis. We focus on early aspects of its formation (patterning within the early trophoblast compartment) and late events during its maturation (e.g. trophoblast invasion and its interactions with maternal tissues). We are investigating this in vivo (using gene knockout embryos and culture of whole embryos or trophoblast explants) and in vitro using trophoblast stem cells (with or without genetic manipulation of these stem cells).


(3) Influences of extraembryonic tissues on embryo development:


Our main aim here is to investigate the ill-defined influences of extraembryonic tissues (mainly the early trophoblast and visceral endoderm) on the patterning of the epiblast before and during gastrulation. To this end, we are employing several experimental approaches including the use of gene knockout embryos and the culture of trophoblast-ablated embryos (using microsurgery).



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