The pancreas controls vital functions in our body, including production of digestive enzymes and glucose metabolism. Pancreas organogenesis involves a long-lasting crosstalk between the pancreatic epithelium and its surrounding microenvironment(s). Although these tissue interactions are required for pancreatic differentiation, growth and morphogenesis, little is known about the cellular identities and putative functional heterogeneity of the surrounding microevironment. In this project, we aim at resolving the full spectrum of cellular interactions in mouse and human pancreatic tissues. Subsequently, we will mimic the pancreatic microenviroment(s) and study cellular interactions taking advantages of microfluidic platforms capable of culturing multiple cell types in 3D.
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