We study how metabolism regulates stem cell behaviour. While we primarily focus on neural stem cells, we also investigate whether metabolic activities control different somatic stem cells in similar ways. We are specifically interested in lipid metabolism and how the build-up and break-down of lipids, as well as their external availability, affects stem cells. For example, what role do lipid droplets play in instructing stem cell behaviour? These versatile, lipid-storing organelles are essential hubs for lipid metabolism and have not yet received much attention in our field. With human brain organoids, we plan to corroborate our findings obtained from mouse studies in a human context. As mutations in lipid metabolic pathways are quite common, we are studying the impact of such disturbances on neural stem cells using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells.
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