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Meritxell Huch (Visitor)

2018 Huch preferredMeri Huch PhD, Wellcome Sir Henry Dale Fellow, Wellcome-Beit Prize Fellow (2014), EMBO Young Investigator, Member of the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience.

On 1st October 2019 Meri Huch moved to the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden (see lab webpage) as one of the first recipients of the Lise Meitner Excellence Program from the Max Planck Society. Meri retains Visitor status at the Gurdon Institute until end of February 2020.

Europe PMC | Pubmed 


Stem cells and tissue regeneration in liver and pancreas

How can we repair diseased liver and pancreas? In adult mammals, many tissues have the capacity to self-renew to maintain healthy function in homeostasis and after damage.

But the capacity for cell turnover varies. In the intestine and stomach, adult stem cell populations are constantly replenishing, while in the liver and pancreas cell proliferation is limited. Chronic liver disease and pancreatic cancer are strongly associated with inflammation and tissue damage, which activates stem cells and progenitor cells to repair lost tissue. Our goal is to understand the activation mechanism in order to harness it for therapeutic strategies.

We have established a novel culture system, liver organoids, which allows the massive and infinite expansion of mouse liver cells into three-dimensional structures that resemble functional liver tissue. When transplanted into a mouse model of liver disease (‘FAH –/–’), these cells partially rescued the liver phenotype.

We also work with pancreas cells and diseased human liver cells in culture, and are testing how well our models can represent human pathology in a dish.

Selected publications:

• Epigenetic remodelling licences adult cholangiocytes for organoid formation and liver regeneration. Aloia L et al. Nature Cell Biology (2019) 21: 13211333  DOI:10.1038/s41556-019-0402-6

• Lgr5+ stem and progenitor cells reside at the apex of a heterogeneous embryonic hepatoblast pool. Prior N, Hindley CJ, Rost F, Meléndez Esteban E, Lau WWY, Göttgens B, Rulands S, Simons BD & Huch M. (2019) Development 2019 146: dev174557. DOI: 10.1242/dev.174557.

• Definitions for adult stem cells debated. Muñoz-Cánoves P & Huch M.  Nature (2018) 563(7731): 328-329. 

• Human primary liver cancer-derived organoid cultures for disease modeling and drug screening. Broutier L, Mastrogiovanni G, Verstegen MM, Francies HE, Gavarró LM, Bradshaw CR, Allen GE, Arnes-Benito R, Sidorova O, Gaspersz MP, Georgakopoulos N, Koo BK, Dietmann S, Davies SE, Praseedom RK, Lieshout R, IJzermans JNM, Wigmore SJ, Saeb-Parsy K, Garnett MJ, van der Laan LJ, Huch M. Nature Medicine (2017) 23(12): 1424-1435.

• The hope and the hype of organoid research. Huch M, Knoblich JA, Lutolf MP, Martinez-Arias A. Development (2017) 144(6): 938-941. 

• Culture and establishment of self-renewing human and mouse adult liver and pancreas 3D organoids and their genetic manipulation. Broutier L, Andersson-Rolf A, Hindley CJ, Boj SF, Clevers H, Koo BK, Huch M. Nature Protocols (2016) 11(9): 1724-43. 

• Long-Term Culture of Genome-Stable Bipotent Stem Cells from Adult Human Liver. Huch M, Gehart H, van Boxtel R, Hamer K, Blokzijl F, Verstegen MM, Ellis E, van Wenum M, Fuchs SA, de Ligt J, van de Wetering M, Sasaki N, Boers SJ, Kemperman H, de Jonge J, Ijzermans JN, Nieuwenhuis EE, Hoekstra R, Strom S, Vries RR, van der Laan LJ, Cuppen E, Clevers H. Cell (2015) 160(1-2): 299-312. 

In vitro expansion of single Lgr5+ liver stem cells induced by Wnt-driven regeneration. Huch M, Dorrell C, Boj SF, van Es JH, Li VSW, van de Wetering M, Sato T, Hamer K, Sasaki N, Finegold MJ, Haft A, Vries R, Grompe M, Clevers H.  Nature (2013) 494: 247-50. 

Huch group (Nov18 to Feb19)

Video: Meet Meri Huch


Luigi Aloia • Robert Arnes • Anna Dowbaj • Nikitas Georgakopoulos • Patricia Inacio • Mewanthi Flaminia Kaluthantrige Don • Christian Lehmann • Kathy Oswald • Nicole Prior • Bernhard Strauss