Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Developmental Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute (lab of Kat Hadjantonakis)
PhD degree in developmental biology, University of Manchester, UK (lab of Berenika Plusa)
BSc degree in biological sciences, University of Salamanca, Spain
Mammalian embryos spend their first days of development getting ready for the time of implantation, when the embryo embeds itself in the mother’s uterus. During these early days, cells in the embryo must decide whether to become part of the embryo proper or part of the extra-embryonic tissues that will support embryonic growth. Cells that acquire an embryonic fate will eventually generate all tissues in the adult body and are said to be pluripotent. Extra-embryonic cells, although dispensable for adult life, are essential for embryonic development.
My research focuses on how cells within the mouse embryo make these decisions (i.e., how they differentiate or remain pluripotent). I am particularly interested in the genetic and molecular mechanisms that individual cells use to communicate and coordinate their behaviors in order to organize themselves into an embryo. To study these processes, I use high-resolution microscopy and single-cell level image data analysis.
A central question in stem cell biology is how cells choose between remaining pluripotent and differentiating. Understanding the mechanisms that cells use to make these decisions and organize themselves during normal development will allow us to control these processes experimentally, in pluripotent stem cells, for both basic research and medical applications