The de Caestecker laboratory focuses on four main areas of research:
The use of small molecules to enhance regenerative capacity of the kidney following acute kidney injury. These studies are part of an ongoing collaboration with Neil Hukriede from Pittsburgh University. Using a screen in Zebrafish embryos he has identified a novel class of compounds that promote expansion of renal progenitor cells during embryonic development. We have shown that these compounds also enhance renal regenerative capacity in mice and are associated with induction of embryonic gene markers in the kidney. Current work is exploring the efficacy and mechanisms by which this class of compound regulates renal regeneration.
CRE-dependent transposon-based forward genetic screen to identify mutations associated with development of embryonic renal tumors in mice. We have used a CRE-driver that is expressed in embryonic renal progenitor cells to develop a model of Wilms’ tumor in mice. We are screening for tumor-associated mutations and using the temporally regulated CRE driver to identify stage dependent effects of mutagenesis in renal progenitor cell populations.
The role of IGF and insulin signaling in mediating asymmetric intrauterine growth retardation resulting from placental insufficiency in mice. We are currently using genetic approaches in mice to evaluate epistatic relationships between organs during late gestational fetal growth.
The role of BMP signaling in regulating pulmonary vascular remodeling and reactivity in health and disease. We are using mouse genetics with cardiovascular physiology and cell biological approaches (including the use of human IPS cell lines from patients with hereditary pulmonary vascular disease) to study complex relationships between different cell types within the pulmonary vasculature in health and disease.