Dr. Guy Tanentzapf’s work addresses how the tissue architecture that underlies the body plan in humans is achieved and, once achieved, how tissue integrity is maintained throughout life.
The primary method cells use to organize into tissues is to form adhesions with other cells and the surrounding environment. Tanentzapf’s research accomplishments include the identification of the hierarchy of genes that determine the placement of cell adhesions during the development of epithelial tissues and elucidating the regulation of adhesions that maintain the attachments of muscles to tendons. His primary interest is in uncovering the mechanisms that form and maintain cell adhesion to the ExtraCellular Matrix (ECM). Cell-ECM adhesion has important roles during human development making critical contributions to morphology and physiology. The importance of Cell-ECM adhesion is reflected in the large number of pathologies caused by defects in this process, including muscle degeneration, inflammation, thrombosis and cancer.
Tanentzapf’s long-term goal is to understand the regulation of cell adhesion at the molecular level thus allowing the development of new therapeutic strategies for diseases associated with abnormal cell adhesion.