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The Rivron group recreates embryonic development in a dish, from mammalian stem cells, to better understand the encoded principles of self-organization.
Stem cells are the seeds of the organism. During development, these powerful cells proliferate, generate specialized cells, and organize into sophistically patterned embryonic entities. These entities form via a range of local interactions that constrain the genetically-encoded program, and delineate the robustness and plasticity of mammalian development.
The Rivron lab uses stem cells to study the design principles of self-organization in the early mammalian conceptus.
Under controlled conditions, stem cells also self-organize into entities in a dish. The lab created a currently unique stem cell-based model of the pre-implantation conceptus (blastocyst), termed blastoid. The blastoid model contains all the cell types that further develop into the whole organism (embryonic and extra-embryonic tissues), and genuinely implant upon transfer in utero.
Contrary to the blastocysts, blastoids are versatile to systematically modulate and analyse the impact of cell numbers, cell states and multicellular communication mechanisms on development. Blastoids are also generated in large numbers for genetic/drug screens, and deep genomic analysis.
We initially revealed a range of signals originating from the inner embryonic cells, and regulating the proliferation, self-renewal, and morphogenesis of the outer trophectoderm cells. Altogether, these inductions gate-keep the trophectoderm potential to implant in utero. We now investigate how synergies between the blastocyst or blastoid compartments (epiblast, primitive endoderm, trophoblast) regulate implantation and post-implantation development.
Our group gathers scientists and engineers whose research is grounded in basic stem cell biology and in technological/computational approaches including microsystems, synthetic biology tools, single cell genomic, and high-content imaging.
More information at www.nicolasrivron.org
Rivron NC*, Frias-Aldeguer J, Vrij EJ, Boisset JC, Korving J, Vivié J, Truckenmüller RK, van Oudenaarden A, van Blitterswijk CA†, Geijsen N†
* corresponding author. † equal contribution.
Kicheva A, Rivron NC
Vrij EJ, Espinoza S, Heilig M, Kolew A, Schneider M, van Blitterswijk CA, Truckenmüller RK, Rivron NC.
Rivron NC, Vrij EJ, Rouwkema J, Le Gac S, van den Berg A, Truckenmüller RK, van Blitterswijk CA
Rivron NC, Raiss CC, Liu J, Nandakumar A, Sticht C, Gretz N, Truckenmüller R, Rouwkema J, van Blitterswijk CA
Nicolas Rivron is a stem cell biologist and a tissue engineer. He leads the laboratory for synthetic mammalian development both at the Hubrecht Institute for developmental biology and stem cell research (Utrecht) and at the MERLN Institute for technology-driven regenerative medicine (Maastricht). His laboratory created the blastoid system, the first model of the pre-implantation conceptus generated solely from stem cells. His laboratory also develops platforms and technologies to systematically induce, modulate, and analyze self-organization in vitro.
Scientific training and positions