P. Eckhard Witten

Skeletal Research

Research Group Evolutionary Developmental Biology
at Ghent University

ICVM 2019, Prague, our published Abstracts:

Larionova D, Witten PE, Lesot H, Huysseune A (2019) High Resolution Morphology of Miniature Teleost Teeth. Journal of Morphology Suppl. 280: S161
Martini A, Boglione C, Witten PE (2019) Phenotypic Variation of the Zebrafish (Danio rerio, Actinopterygii: Cyprinidae) Skeleton in Response to Rearing Density. Journal of Morphology Suppl. 280: S175
Oralová V, Rosa JT, Larionova D, Witten PE, Huysseune A (2019) A New Paradigm for Pharyngeal Tooth Formation? Journal of Morphology Suppl. 280: S193
Prondvai E, Abourachid A, Witten PE, Huysseune A, Adriaens D (2019) Osteohistology of Disparate Limb Development in Ducks. Journal of Morphology Suppl. 280: S205
Rosa JT, Oralova V, Larionova D, Eisenhoffer GT, Witten PE, Huysseune A (2019) Periderm Invasion Contributes to the Epithelial Lining of the Teleost Pharynx. Journal of Morphology Suppl. 280: S210
Witten PE, Fjelldal PG, Huysseune A, Owen MAG (2019) Bone Without Minerals in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar): Growth, Function and Retention of the Capacity to Mineralize. Journal of Morphology Suppl. 280: S239

Email Contacts:
Ann Huysseune, PI (Ann.Huysseune@Ugent.be)
P. Eckhard Witten, PI (peckhardwitten@aol.com)
Mieke Soenens, Lab Management (Mieke.Soenens@UGent.be)
Hilde Van Wynsberge, Office Manage. (Hilde.Vanwynsberge@UGent.be)
Miranda Naert, Course Management (Miranda.Naert@UGent.be)
Daria Larionova, PhD (Daria.Larionova@UGent.be)
Ana Manuela de Azevedo, PhD (Daria.Larionova@UGent.be)
Arianna Martini, cand. PhD (ariannamartini.89@gmail.com)
Silvia Cotti, cand. PhD (silvia.cotti01@universitadipavia.it)
Lucia Drabikova, cand. PhD (luludrabikova@gmail.com
Xuemei Xiong, BSc (1727448473@qq.com)

Associated Scientists
Joana Teixeira Rosa, PhD (Joana.TeixeiraRosa@UGent.be)
Veronika Oralova, PhD (Veronika.Oralova@UGent.be)
Herve Lesot, PhD (Herve.Lesot@UGent.be)

Research highlights

Severe phosphorus deficiency in Atlantic salmon does not disrupt  bone  formation but generates bone  without minerals. Dietary phosphorous can restore bone minerals. Witten PE, Per Fjelldal G, Huysseune A, McGurk C, Obach A, Owen MAG (2019) Bone without minerals and its secondary mineralization in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar): The recovery from phosphorus deficiency. Journal of Experimental Biolog 2019, doi: 10.1242/jeb.188763

Osterix/SP knockout in Medaka does not prevent  the formation of vertebral body  anlagen (chordacentra).  Yu T, Graf M, Renn J, Schartl M, Larionova D, Huysseune A, Witten PE, Winkler C (2017) A vertebrate specific and essential role for sp7/osterix in osteogenesis revealed by gene knock-out in the teleost medaka. Development, 144, 265-271

No evidence that epethelial stem cells are involved in medaka tooth formation. Tan WH,  Witten PE,  Winkler C,  Au DTW,  Huysseune A (2017) Telomerase expression in medaka (Oryzias melastigma) pharyngeal teeth. Journal of Dental Research, 96(6) 678 –684

The salmonid vertebral column has six distinct regions, one is a transitional region between abominal and caudal vertbral bodies. De Clercq A, Perrott MR, Davie PS, Preece MA, Wybourne B, Ruff N, Huysseune A, Witten PE (2017) Vertebral column regionalisation in Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. Journal of Anatomy 231:500—514

Zebrafish and medaka. Diagnosing skeletal pathologies in small teleost fish
Workshop 1: Basic / Translational Fish as a model for skeletal diseases at ECTS 2018
Link to video  | Length: 27:35 min

Development, Plasticity and Remodeling of Skeletal Tissues

Our research focuses on development, plasticity, and remodeling of skeletal tissues; in particular bone, cartilage and teeth of teleost fish. Teleost fish are by far the largest and most diverse group of vertebrates on the planet. Processes are analyzed in a comparative developmental and evolutionary context. For anyone interested in evolution and development, the skeleton is the ideal organ system to study. Skeletal tissues are preserved in the fossil record and they can be analyzed in extant organisms. The group intensely studies the mechanisms underlying continuous tooth replacement in teleosts, we participate in biomedical research and we use our knowledge about fish skeletal tissues to prevent skeletal malformations in farmed fish.

The group has collaborations  with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Hon Kong, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, USA and  the UK.

We organize the intentional conference “Interdisciplinary Approaches in Fish Skeletal Biology (IAFSB.org),  follow the links at the tab “IAFSB conference”

The lab is member of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (MCSA-ITN) with the primary research aim to create an innovative expertise combining research in skeletal biology of aquaculture fish species with that in biomedical models and humans. In total, 15 PhD students (Early Stage Researchers) have been appointed by the BioMedAqu consortium.

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