Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulair

Development and Stem Cells



Olivier Pourquie is a group leader at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC). The Pourquie lab is interested in the mechanisms controlling the formation of the body of vertebrates during embryogenesis. In particular, they have been focusing on the development of muscles and vertebrae. The work from the Pourquié laboratory has imposed vertebrate segmentation as a novel paradigm to study spatiotemporal regulation of signaling in development. Together, his discoveries have had important consequences for our understanding of the patterning of the vertebrate embryonic axis and provided a conceptual framework to explain human spine malformations such as congenital scoliosis. His laboratory recently developed optimized protocols allowing the efficient production of skeletal muscle and vertebral precursors in vitro from embryonic stem cells by recapitulating stepwise early differentiation of the paraxial mesoderm in vivo. These results represent a key first step toward establishing novel differentiation protocols for skeletal, muscular and other clinically relevant tissues to analyze developmental and pathological processes in human cells or to serve as the basis for future cell based therapies.