Maria Genander's group

We are interested in understanding how stem cells are regulated to form a functional tissue during development and how these processes go wrong in cancer.

A group smiling for a group portrait
Maria Genander's group Photo: Anais Julien

The Genander lab is interested in understanding stem cell maintenance, lineage specification and differentiation during homeostasis and tumor formation. We use epithelial stem cell niches to understand the link between normal stem cell function and tumor initiation and development.

Current Projects

Transcriptional regulation of epidermal progenitor and tumor cells

It is becoming clear that mechanisms important for developing tissues are often reused in cancers. Cancer stem cells drive tumor formation, analogous to how normal stem cells maintain tissues. We are characterizing transcriptional networks regulating properties of developing epidermal stem cells and squamous cell carcinoma tumor cells to identify signatures that can be used to reduce tumor growth.

Posttranslational protein modifications in developing hair follicles

We want to understand how posttranslational modifications of proteins, including histone tails, affect stem and progenitor cells in the hair follicle. Citrullination is a protein modification where arginine is converted to the neutral amino acid citrulline. The generation of citrulline affects protein folding, interaction dynamics with other proteins and, in the case of histone tail citrullination, transcriptional activity. We are studying the role of citrullination in hair follicle progenitor cell proliferation and lineage commitment. 

Progenitor cell heterogeneity in the esophagus

We have identified heterogeneity within the esophageal stem cell population in the normal mouse esophagus, and are now working to understand how this heterogeneity is established and maintained. We want to functionally characterize distinct stem cell populations and map out how they interact with neighboring stromal cells in the healthy esophagus, in order to then understand how these interactions change during esophageal cancer. Our goal is to systematically identify and impact alterations in tumor cells and their stromal niche to reduce tumor burden. 

Group Members

Selected Publications

A Hairy Cituation - PADIs in Regeneration and Alopecia.
Vikhe Patil K, Mak KH, Genander M
Front Cell Dev Biol 2021 ;9():789676

ID1 and CEBPA coordinate epidermal progenitor cell differentiation.
Kantzer CG, Yang W, Grommisch D, Vikhe Patil K, Mak KH, Shirokova V, Genander M
Development 2022 Nov;149(22):

Glutamate transporter Slc1a3 mediates inter-niche stem cell activation during skin growth.
Reichenbach B, Classon J, Aida T, Tanaka K, Genander M, Göritz C
EMBO J. 2018 05;37(9):

An EphB-Abl signaling pathway is associated with intestinal tumor initiation and growth.
Kundu P, Genander M, Strååt K, Classon J, Ridgway RA, Tan EH, et al
Sci Transl Med 2015 Apr;7(281):281ra44

BMP signaling and its pSMAD1/5 target genes differentially regulate hair follicle stem cell lineages.
Genander M, Cook PJ, Ramsköld D, Keyes BE, Mertz AF, Sandberg R, et al
Cell Stem Cell 2014 Nov;15(5):619-33

Dissociation of EphB2 signaling pathways mediating progenitor cell proliferation and tumor suppression.
Genander M, Halford MM, Xu NJ, Eriksson M, Yu Z, Qiu Z, et al
Cell 2009 Nov;139(4):679-92

EphB receptors coordinate migration and proliferation in the intestinal stem cell niche.
Holmberg J, Genander M, Halford MM, Annerén C, Sondell M, Chumley MJ, et al
Cell 2006 Jun;125(6):1151-63

Interested in joining the lab?

We are looking for highly motivated PhD or postdoctoral candidates who are experienced in, or interested in mastering, bioinformatics. Contact Maria Genander directly if you are interested in joining the lab!

Linda Lindell