DANIEL SZETOAssistant Professor
Lilly 2-226, Lab 2-128
Our laboratory uses zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model system to understand how mesodermal progenitor cells (MPCs) give rise to distinct cell-types and tissue-types during embryogenesis and organogenesis. The specification and differentiation of these pluripotent MPCs are spatially and temporally regulated by a network of intracellular signaling pathways. Our research program focuses on the roles of Bone morphogenetic protein (Bmp), Fibroblast growth factor (Fgf), Nodal and Wnt signaling pathways in the development of the MPCs to form body musculature, heart and blood. In our laboratory, we use a combination of biochemical, cellular, embryological, genetic and molecular approaches to determine how these signaling inputs are coordinated to activate different transcriptional outputs that are responsible for the specification and differentiation of the MPCs in giving rise to distinct mesodermal cell-types and tissue-types during embryogenesis. We are also interested to understand the requirement of these different signaling pathways for the survival, proliferation, and migration of the MPCs during somitogenesis and cardiogenesis.
Another major interest in our laboratory is to understand the roles of T-box genes that function downstream of these signaling pathways to regulate the development of the MPCs during embryogenesis and organogenesis. We are currently working with six different T-box genes, and they are tbx5, tbx6, tbx20, tbx24, no tail and spadetail. The goal is to determine how these genes are regulated and function during cardiogenesis, hematopoiesis and somitogenesis.
Zebrafish Heart movie
Zebrafish cardiac chambers form at 48 hour after fertilization. (.wmv file)
Zebrafish Posterior Body Formation Movie
The development of the mesodermal progenitor cells (MPCs) into the musculature of the zebrafish body during somitogenesis (.wmv file)