Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte
Gene Expression Laboratory
Roger Guillemin Chair
Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory, studies how genes and molecules orchestrate the development of an embryo.The questions addressed by the laboratory include: How does one cell give rise to millions of cells, and how do they come to be organized into complete structures such as limbs, a heart or brain? How stems cells differentiate and give rise to over 200 cell types that constitute the human body? How certain animals are able to regenerate their tissues and organs, i.e., what are the genetic pathways responsible for epimorphic regeneration, a complex biological process by which animals can regenerate tissues and even entire organs throughout their lifetime after injury or amputation?
Through the years his work has contributed to uncovering the role of some homeobox genes during organ and tissue patterning and specification, as well as the identification of the molecular mechanisms that determine how the different cell type precursors of internal organs are organized spatially along the embryonic left right axis. Overall, his studies have helped to better understand how embryonic stem cells give rise to specific cell types during embryo development, and how these cells interact with one another to form tissues and organs with proper morphology and function. His studies are contributing to give us a glimpse into the molecular basis implicated during organ regeneration in higher vertebrates, the differentiation of human stem cells into various tissues as well as aging and aging related diseases.
In addition to improving our knowledge on early human development, the research activities of Dr. Izpisua Belmonte's laboratory are relevant to understanding the causes that underlie human birth defects, as well as the development of new molecules and specific gene and cell based treatments to cure diseases affecting mankind.
For more information about Dr. Izpisua Belmonte's lab, click here.
- Bachelor's of Pharmacy and Science, University of Valencia
- Ph.D., Universities of Bologna, Italy and Valencia, Spain
- Postdoctoral fellow, University of Marburg; The European Molecular Biology Laboratories at Heidelberg, Germany; University of California, Los Angeles