Professor Palle Serup and his group aim to understand how the pancreas is formed early in life during embryonic development with a special focus on the significance of Notch signalling.
There is ongoing work to make insulin producing cells from embryonic stem cells for diabetes cell replacement therapy. These cells are yet not perfect. Hence, there is a need for better understanding of how the body develops perfectly functioning insulin cells. This is to continuously improve the protocols to obtain the best possible stem cell derived product for treatment.
We have gained a much better understanding of the complexity of pancreas development and how the different Notch components act during the process to specify cell types and regulate cell fate decisions. This is crucial in order to understand how a healthy pancreas is formed. We are now testing how this knowledge can improve the differentiation protocols of embryonic stem cells to insulin producing cells.
Inside of two mouse embryo siblings 10 days after fertilization. Stomach is green, duodenum is red and the connecting region is blue with the two pancreas buds forming. The upper embryo is normal, the lower one is a Notch signalling mutant. Note how the big pancres bud is deformed in the mutant.
Mette Christine Jørgensen, Serup group, reNEW, UCPH