Dr Henry H. Roehl
Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 2351
Brief career history
Modelling skeletal disease in zebrafish
How do developmental signalling pathways regulate osteoblast differentiation during development and skeletal repair?
Osteoblasts in zebrafish follow the same differentiation pathway as in mammals: The runx2 genes are expressed in early skeletal precursors, followed by osterix and then finally by genes encoding bone proteins such as Osteonectin and Collagen1.
We have analysed how different signalling pathways regulate these steps during osteoblastogenesis using heatshock induction of signalling pathway components and pharmaceuticals that target individual pathways.
Our work has shed light on how stem cells differentiate in vivo and may help to develop regenerative therapies for skeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. We have also found a link between osteoblast and adipocyte differentiation in vivo that may help us to unravel the genetic origins of diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
Current lab members
See: Roehl lab members
Undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules
PhD Studentship project
Identification of the molecular pathways that guide zebrafish regeneration - Henry Roehl (Awaiting funding decision/Possible external funding)
Funding status: Awaiting funding decision/Possible external funding
The study of regenerative biology aims to elucidate the innate ability of organisms to replace tissues or organs after they have been removed or damaged. During vertebrate regeneration, tissue damage causes the immediate release of signals that initiate wound closure and inflammation. Following this, regenerative cells proliferate and migrate to the damaged area. These cells then grow to replace the missing organ or tissue. This process is very efficient in aquatic vertebrates such as salamanders, frogs and fish, and is not very successful in terrestrial vertebrates such as ourselves.
This project uses zebrafish as a model to identify the signals that recruit regenerative cells to the site of injury. Genetic and pharmacolgical inhibition of signalling pathways will be used to identify key regenerative signalling pathways. Time-lapse analysis at the single cell level will be used to analyse the roles of different pathways in attracting and guiding cell migration. The successful candidate will join a supportive and hardworking team of scientists based in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Bateson Life Course Biology Centre.
The student will use cutting-edge techniques such as CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, light sheet microscopy and next generation sequencing. The long-term goal of this project is to improve regenerative medicine approaches for patients.
Keywords: Cell Biology / Development, Genetics
To find out more about this studentship, other departmental projects and how to apply see our PhD opportunities page:
- Felber K, Elks PM, Lecca M & Roehl HH (2015) Expression of osterix Is Regulated by FGF and Wnt/β-Catenin Signalling during Osteoblast Differentiation. PLOS ONE, 10(12). View this article in WRRO
- Dyer C, Blanc E, Hanisch A, Roehl H, Otto GW, Yu T, Basson MA & Knight R (2014) A bi-modal function of Wnt signalling directs an FGF activity gradient to spatially regulate neuronal differentiation in the midbrain.. Development, 141(1), 63-72.