Stem Cell Research Unit
The main research interest is cellular and molecular mechanism behind branching morphogenesis in the human breast and lung. Thorarinn has established a number of cell lines that have been highly useful for studying the cellular context in these organs. Some of these cell lines harbour stem cell characteristics making them an important tool for recapitulation of tissue structures in vitro. The laboratory uses three dimensional cell culture models to generate organotypic breast and lung structures. We are using these in vitro settings to study the molecular mechanism behind branching. In that regard we are focusing on a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) protein family and their downstream signaling pathways. Of special interest is the sprout protein family. Sprout proteins regulate the functions of various RTK and are believed to be important proteins in branching morphogenesis and a possible tumor suppressor.