About this Research Topic
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can self-renew and potentially differentiate into different specialized cell types. Embryonic stem cells are crucial during development to generate the different organs of the body. In some of the adult tissues, adult stem cells have critical roles for tissue homeostasis and repair upon injury. Understanding the mechanisms that regulate the specific pathways of stem cell differentiation into the different cell types is a central question for stem cell biology and also constitutes the basis to exploit the potential of stem cells for tissue regeneration. Model organisms have been instrumental to investigate stem cell behavior and differentiation trajectories in vivo. In recent years, novel model systems including both 2D and 3D (organoid) cultures have been developed from embryonic or adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, and those have been particularly critical to leverage our understanding of human stem cells in health and disease.
Although much progress has been made in our comprehension of the mechanisms that drive stem cell renewal and differentiation during embryonic development and later in adulthood in different organs, much remains to be investigated. In particular, we need to obtain a more holistic knowledge of the molecular pathways that regulate stem cell behavior on different levels, including genetic, transcriptomic, and epigenetic changes. It is also critical to understand how these pathways become dysregulated in disease. In order to do so, on the one hand, the optimization and generation of model systems, including animal models and in vitro (human) stem cell-based cultures, such as organoids, is critical to derive the correct platforms of investigation. At the same time, advancements in state-of-the-art methods and techniques such as genetic editing, lineage tracing and mathematical modelling, imaging tools, and next generation sequencing including single cell sequencing, can be increasingly beneficial when applied to the stem cell field.
In this research topic we aim at exploring the recent advancements in stem cell biology. We have a particular focus on molecular mechanisms driving cellular differentiation in various organs, and how these are dysregulated in a disease context. We further aim at reporting on optimization and use of novel model systems and techniques.
We welcome authors to submit Brief Research Reports, Original Research, Methods, Mini-Review, and Reviews. We encourage a focus on, but not limited to, the following topics:
• Pathways and mechanisms controlling stem cell behavior and differentiation in organ development and repair.
• Optimization of (novel) model systems and their use to study stem cell behavior in health and disease.
• Advancement and application of state-of-the-art techniques to be applied to model systems to unravel different aspects of stem cell biology.
Keywords: Stem cells, Cellular differentiation, Organoids, Organ development and homeostasis, Disease modeling.
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