Embryonic development is a complex process that integrates multiple cellular mechanisms such as differentiation, proliferation, programmed cell death and movements, which must be coordinated precisely in time and space for the final arrangement of cells, tissues and organs that constitute the body of an organism. We are interested in investigating how these processes are orchestrated and how they are modulated by molecular signals in vertebrates. Studies with amphibian embryos were pioneers in the discovery of the genetic mechanisms that establish the germ layers and the axes of the body in vertebrates (cephalo-caudal, dorsal-ventral and left-right). Many key molecular pathways in these processes were discovered in the Xenopus amphibian and function similarly in other vertebrates. Given its experimental advantages, the use of this amphibian to model and dissect pathologies, congenital malformations and genetic disorders in humans has increased considerably in recent years. This model has allowed us to demonstrate the functions of the Notch pathway, its target genes and other transcription factors in the earliest embryonic signal centers and their impact on the structures that derive from them (such as the brain), as well as in the subdivision of the three germ layers (ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm), from which all body tissues and organs derive. The investigation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern the construction of the body of vertebrates generates knowledge that may have an impact on clinical or translational biomedicine, since they are necessary for the understanding of teratogenic processes, malformations and congenital disorders and stem cell biology.
Lab MembershipsLópez Laboratory of Molecular Embryology (Principal Investigator/Director)
Facultad de Medicina and Laboratorio de Embriología Molecular
Universidad de Buenos Aires
Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires