Hypothalamic development from self-organising progenitors


  • Prof Marysia Placzek

    University of Sheffield

Project summary

The hypothalamus is critical to life, controlling growth, metabolism and reproduction, but we understand little about its development. We have recently made the unexpected discovery that a small region of the early embryo can grow into the three domains that classically define the adult hypothalamus. 

We want to understand how this embryonic region forms and decipher the information it contains that is the blueprint for hypothalamic construction. The embryonic cells resemble adult hypothalamic stem cells that can generate new neurons through life, supporting adaptation. We will investigate if these hypothalamic stem cells are made in the early embryo. 

Our studies could help us build the hypothalamus in a dish, which would enable us to make personalised cells and restore damaged brain cells.