The EMBO fellowship to Ober group postdoc- Sara Caviglia – University of Copenhagen

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22 June 2016

The EMBO fellowship to Ober group postdoc- Sara Caviglia


Postdoc Sara Caviglia from Elke Ober's lab was awarded two-year EMBO Long-Term Fellowship for her project: Liver goes live- from migrating progenitors to functional epithelial units.

The EMBO Long-Term Fellowships are awarded for a period of up to two years and support post-doctoral research visits to laboratories throughout Europe and the world. International exchange is a key feature in the application process.

project title: Liver goes live- from migrating progenitors to functional epithelial units

Project summary: During development, liver progenitors collectively migrate to form an organ primordium, where they differentiate into polarized cells. The molecular mechanism and cues governing progenitor self-organization are poorly understood. I propose to pioneer a live imaging platform to study in real-time and at single-cell resolution, how liver progenitors assemble into an organ in zebrafish embryos, transitioning from migratory into polarized cells. I will implement a next-generation four-color labeling system to mosaically-label cell membranes and/or nuclei of any given tissue. By combining this system with available GFP lines, which label neighboring tissues or polarized hepatic proteins, I will define which specific cellular behaviors and tissue-tissue interactions regulate the three-dimensional organization of liver architecture. Preliminary results indicate that the transmembrane protein EphrinB1, essential for progenitor cell motility, is redistributed to specific cell membrane domains during differentiation. To assess whether differential EphrinB1 localization is associated with distinct molecular functions, I propose to analyze its role at multiple stages of liver morphogenesis. I will generate conditional EphrinB1 mutants via CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering and identify signaling targets and interactors by proteome analyses of isolated liver cells. Elucidating these processes will provide invaluable knowledge for facilitating the development of novel cell-based therapies for treating liver diseases.