Deneen Wellik

Position title: Professor and Chair


Cell & Regenerative Biology
The role of Hox genes in the development, growth and homeostasis of the adult skeleton, muscle and lung.

1111 Highland Avenue, 4533 WIMR II
Cell & Regenerative Biology
Research Interests
The role of Hox genes in the development, growth and homeostasis of the adult skeleton, muscle and lung.
Research Fields
Mouse developmental genetics Hox genes in organogenesis (current focus on muscle, skeleton and lung)

My laboratory focuses on the role of Hox genes in development, disease, repair and regeneration using mouse as a model organism. The expression and function of Hox genes have been highly conserved throughout evolution where these genes play critical roles in many aspects of developmental patterning and organogenesis. In addition to roles in embryonic development, more recent work in my laboratory reveals that Hox-expressing cells are retained in many tissues and organs through postnatal and adult life as mesenchymal stem/precursor cells that remain important for maintenance and repair of organs and tissues. Utilizing mainly mouse developmental genetics, my laboratory explores the function of these genes in development, regeneration and repair, and in response to disease. We are currently actively exploring the musculoskeletal system and the lung as model organ systems for Hox function. Our long-term goal is to understand mechanisms by which Hox genes to direct development, repair and regeneration in mammals and to elucidate how this information can be used to improve potential regenerative therapies.

Representative Publications:

Search PubMed for more publications by Deneen Wellik

Pineault, K.M., Song, J.Y., Kozloff, K.M., Lucas, D., and Wellik, D.M., “Hox11-expressing, regional skeletal stem cells are progenitors for bone, cartilage and fat from embryonic through adult stages”, accepted, Nature Communications.

Hrycaj, S.M., Marty-Santos, L., Cebrian, C., Rasky, A., Ptaschinski, C., Lukacs, N.W., Wellik, D.M., “Hox5 Genes Direct Elastin Network Formation During Alveologenesis By Regulating Myofibroblast Adhesion”, PNAS 115(45): E10605-E10614 (2018).

Rux, D.R., Song, J.Y., Swinehart, I.T., Pineault, K.M., Schlientz, A.J., Trulik, K.G., Goldstein, S.A., Kozloff, K.M., Lucas, D., Wellik, D.M., “Regionally Restricted Hox Function in Adult Bone Marrow Multipotent Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells,” Developmental Cell 39(6): 653-666 (2016).

Larsen, B.M., Hrycaj, S.M., Newman, M., Li, Y., Wellik, D.M., “Mesenchymal Hox6 function is required for pancreatic endocrine cell differentiation”, Development 142: 3859-3868 (2015).

Hrycaj, S.M., Dye, B.R., Baker, N.C., Larsen, B.M., Burke, A.C., Spence, J.R., Wellik, D.M., “Hox5 Genes regulate the Wnt2/2b-Bmp4 signaling axis during lung development”, Cell Reports 12(6): 903-912 (2015).

Swinehart, I.T., Schlientz, A.J., Quintanilla, C.A., Mortlock, D.P., Wellik, D.M., “Hox11 function is required for regional patterning and integration of muscle, tendon and bone”, Development 140: 4574-82 (2013).