Developmental Biology Program
The Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis Lab
Cancer is a condition arising when cells undergo an identity crisis. Understanding of how cells control their identity, and how they assemble into tissues with normal organization and function during embryonic development provides the essential blueprint for gaining insights into the fundamental biological processes that become deregulated in disease states such as cancer.
Our research focus and goals - how cells form tissues. We are interested in how cells become specialized, and how they collaborate at the population level to collectively build organs. Our focus is on the endoderm, the progenitor tissue that gives rise to respiratory and digestive tracts, and associated organs such as the lung, liver and pancreas. Our overarching goal is to understand how endodermal organs form - in time and space - from populations of uncommitted progenitor cells in the embryo.
Repair, replace, and regenerate. An aspiration is to develop knowledge that will facilitate future efforts to repair, replace or regenerate diseased or damaged tissues. Our research seeks to gain fundamental insights into the processes by which tissues and organs arrise in their native context - the embryo - and consequently, how these mechanisms can be contextually recapitulated or adapted. Furthermore, understanding the processes taking place during normal development paves the way for understanding the mechanisms of cancers in children and young adults (Developmental Oncology).
A multi-disciplinary approach bridging scales. We use mammalian embryo, embryo-derived stem cell, and organoid models, as experimentally tractable platforms for our studies. We have a history of applying cutting-edge high-resolution quantitative methods – from light microscopic imaging to single-cell genomics approaches - to investigate mechanisms driving: (1) the acquisition of cell states and fates leading to the emergence of an endoderm identity, (2) the plasticity and differentiation of endoderm cells and their neighbors, and, (3) the organization and growth of tissue as organs start to take shape from communities of cells.
Abuhashem A, Lee AS, Joyner AL, Hadjantonakis AK. Rapid and efficient degradation of endogenous proteins in vivo identifies stage-specific roles of RNA Pol II pausing in mammalian development. Dev Cell. 2022 Apr 25;57(8):1068-1080.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2022.03.013. Epub 2022 Apr 13. PMID: 35421370; PMCID: PMC9047393.
Morgani SM, Su J, Nichols J, Massagué J, Hadjantonakis AK The transcription factor Rreb1 regulates epithelial architecture, invasiveness and vasculogenesis in early mouse embryos Elife. 2021 Apr 30;10:e64811. doi: 10.7554/eLife.64811. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33929320
Simon CS, Rahman S, Raina D, Schröter C, Hadjantonakis AK. Live Visualization of ERK Activity in the Mouse Blastocyst Reveals Lineage-Specific Signaling Dynamics. Dev Cell. 2020 Oct 16; S1534-5807(20)30762-0. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2020.09.030
Saiz N, Mora-Bitria L, Rahman S, George H, Herder J, Garcia-Ojalvo J, Hadjantonakis AK. Growth factor-mediated coupling between lineage size and cell fate choice underlies robustness of mammalian development. Elife. 2020 Jul 28;9:e56079. doi: 10.7554/eLife.56079.
Nowotschin S, Setty M, Kuo YY, Liu V, Garg V, Sharma R, Simon CS, Saiz N, Gardner R, Boutet SC, Church DM, Hoodless PA, Hadjantonakis AK, Pe’er D. The emergent landscape of the mouse gut endoderm at single-cell resolution. Nature. 2019 May;569(7756):361-367. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1127-1.
Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis, PhD
Chair, Developmental Biology Program, SKI; Alfred P. Sloan Chair
- The Hadjantonakis laboratory studies pluripotency, cell lineage commitment, tissue patterning, and morphogenesis in mammalian embryos and in stem cell and organoid models.
- PhD, Imperial College (London)
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Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.
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Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis discloses the following relationships and financial interests:
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