About me

I hold a PhD in biotechnology and bioengineering, and have expertise in stem cell biology, mouse developmental biology, and endoderm developmental biology. I have also experience in synthetic embryology and bioengineering. My main academic interests reside in endoderm and gut tube development, as well as mechanobiology and mechanical inputs to development.

Currently, I am studying the mechanisms of intestinal metamorphosis during clownfish post-embryonic development. I am an advocate for intersectional open science, preprints, equitable publishing, and knowledge equity. Aside from my work, I am interested in data communication and visual storytelling in developmental biology.

Research Projects

Postdoc research
coming soon, watch this space Picture of a clownfish in an orange anemone

PhD research
📑 Read more about my research in my most recent preprint and in my doctorate thesis. Or click here for a summary of my research in more accessible terms.

In humans, mice, and other mammals key internal organs such as the gut, lungs, pancreas, liver, thyroid, thymus, and bladder (and many others!) all derive from the same embryonic tissue: the endoderm. The development of all of these structures thus depends on a same set of early cells, and on the developmental instructions provided to them by the embryo. To study what these instructions might be, I am currently investigating the modes of development that endoderm cells (and their progenitors) execute when they can not rely on them. That is, when they are made to self-organise in vitro in a dish in the lab. Even on their own, endoderm cells emerge with timings and patterns comparable to what happens when they are on the embryo, and eventually form patterned structures in many way similar to the embryonic gut tube. My research touches on topics of endoderm and epithelial identity, self-organisation, patterning, and fundamental mammalian developmental biology.

Gastruloids immunostained for endoderm marker FoxA2 and posterior marker TBra

Embryonic stem cells can be left to self-organise into structures called Gastruloids. These provide an in vitro model of embryonic development. Endoderm cells, marked here in cyan (FoxA2), form an elongated internal core. The posterior marker TBra (gold) marks the posterior of the aggregate.

Gastruloids next to the tailbud of a mouse embryo. The same makers have been immunostained in both.

Gastruloids have been found to express genes in a organised way, in many way similar (and in many ways different) from that of the real mouse embryo. In the image above, the same markers have been stained in the tail of a mouse embryo (big structure on the right) and in 7-days-old Gastruloids. Insight comes from the comparison between what seen in the embryo and what observed to happen in these self-organising *in vitro* systems.

Plots showing alternative quantifications of the marker expression patterns in Gastruloids

The patterns of gene expression amongst Gastruloids are very robust and reproducible. We can image entire populations of Gastruloids and extract spatial information about where specific genes are expressed along the main axis.

Background

I have been a volunteer contributor for preLights with Paul Gerald Layague Sanchez, my boyfriend, and I am a signatory of DORA. I currently curate a list of Global South-authored preprints on the eLife platform Sciety.

Please feel free to check the CV tab for some more information, or download a digital copy (.pdf) of my CV here.