Molecular and developmental endocrinology

Our research focuses on the role of (neuro)hormones, receptors and gene transcription factors in vertebrate embryonic development, using the mouse and chicken as the main animal models. Our research is a mix of endocrinology, neurobiology, molecular genetics and developmental biology. Commonly used techniques include real-time RT-PCR, gene cloning, histology, combined in situ hybridisation and immunohistochemistry, and in vitro perfusion. This basic research provides a basis for applications in both medicine and animal production

Current projects

  • Biological role of PLAG1; a gene transcription factor that is responsible for some types of tumours, but little is known about its biological role in healthy animals.
  • Evolution of the CRHR2 gene; a hormone receptor that is responsible for some of the actions of the neuropeptide corticotropin-releasing hormone or CRH. In the pituitary gland, activation of this receptor stimulates the release of the hormone TSH, but only in non-mammalian vertebrates like salmon, frogs, turtles and chicken - not in mammals.

Team members

Group leader: Dr Bert De Groef

Co-Head, Lecturer: Dr Sylvia Grommen

PhD students: Jemma Gasperoni, Ellyse Noy, Troy Raglus, Diana Rayment, Stephanie Tran, Joanne Wong

Honours student: Mangappulige Don

Volunteers: Jason Prasad, Stanisław Wawrzyczek