We specialize in understanding the principles of mechanotransduction active in shaping the cardiovascular system by using advanced imaging technique. Our technique are based on gentle imaging of fast biological processes that are extremely sensitive. Focused on the zebrafish, we are interested in the investigation of normal and pathological mechanisms with special emphasis on the function and morphogenesis of the cardiac valve and blood vessels. Combining expertise in biology, physics, microscopy, and informatics we develop optical imaging, manipulation, and image analysis tools to understand how mechanical stimuli shape our cardiovascular system. We strive in using these informations to build cardiac structure from scratch and to improve regenerating capability of our cardiovascular system.
Reverse engineering and cardiovascular morphogenesis
We study cardiovascular morphogenesis in its 'native' environment using zebrafish as an animal model. Building on our expertise in in vivo cardiac morphogenesis, we are looking forward to use fluid properties to program and reprogram stem cells into functional cardiac valves. We combine experimental and theoretical approaches to develop ways to promote more effective cardiac valve formation in dishes.
Biophysical mechanisms of fluid forces generation
Biological flows are essential to guide patterning processes during embryonic development. They consist in microscopic flow allowing to physically alter the environment and generate potent morphogenetic signals over different scales (cellular and tissular). We study the processes dictating flow features generated by the embryonic heart and motile cilia. This results from the integration of a unique sets of biological informations at the cellular and tissular level. We focus on the biomechanical mechanisms commanding biological flows as well as the governing physical parameters that the system needs to overcome to generate meaningful flow forces.
Mechanotransduction and signaling in morphogenesis
How the mechanical signals are processed and relayed to the program-determining cardiovascular morphogenesis is largely unknown. Cytosolic calcium ions (Ca2 ) act as second-messengers in response to a wide array of mechanical stimuli, suggesting the existence of conserved mechanisms in mechanotransduction processes. We study the mechanosensitive processes modulating calcium responses during cardiovascular morphogenesis.