Deneen M. Wellik, Ph.D.

Position title: Chair and Professor, Cell & Regenerative Biology


Phone: (608) 262-5491

Wi Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705

Organ System/Disease Focus
Organogenesis, skeleton, muscle and lung.
Aligned Research Focus
skeletal biology, mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells, muscle injury, repair and regeneration, lung development, alveologenesis and adult lung repair, mouse genetics


Research Description

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.