Michelle Brinkmeier, Research Lab Specialist (Camper Laboratory) Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan Medical School
The pituitary gland is a master regulator of many physiological processes, including pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, metabolism, growth, temperature regulation, blood pressure, salt balance, and the stress response. The gland is composed of many different types of cells that are specialized to secrete different hormones to control each of these processes. This image shows the developing pituitary from a 13-day old mouse embryo. The colorful spots indicate the presence of several different cell types that are interspersed throughout the developing gland. As they mature, each of these cell types will produce a type of pituitary hormone. A major question being studied by the lab is: how do each of these different hormone-producing cell types develop in the embryo to ensure proper function of this complex gland?