Education and Training
Research Fellow, SKI Developmental Biology Program, Joyner Lab
Predoctoral/Postdoctoral Researcher, CNIC, Madrid
PhD in Molecular Biology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Predoctoral Researcher, National Center for Biotechnology, Madrid
Masters in Biochemistry, Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain)
My main goal is to study why our limbs are so equal in size, which is a key feature for efficient locomotion and interaction with the environment. Growth of the long bones takes place at the so-called growth plate (GP), which is capable of considerable regulation to compensate for transient growth anomalies (a phenomenon known as catch-up growth (CUG)); however, no existing model can explain all of the observed situations. A systemic, hormone-based model fails to explain experimental CUG occurring only in one GP, while an alternative model in which the total number of cell cycle rounds is autonomously regulated at each GP cannot explain the most common type of CUG in which the growth rate increases beyond the normal levels for any stage. Thus, we hypothesize that there is an active left-right communication system capable of comparing bone size on both sides of the body and triggering local compensation mechanisms at the level of each individual GP. The potential size-sensing and size-compensation mechanisms will be studied in two situations: 1) Normal growth scenario in which we will alter the levels of candidate molecules pharmacologically and genetically, focusing on their effect on left-right asymmetry. 2) A unilateral CUG scenario using new genetic tools to transiently increase or decrease size in only one side of the body, allowing to compare the response of left and right limbs.