Intestinal stem cell biology in homeostasis and cancer

The internal surface of the intestine is constantly renewed, but the developmental origin of adult intestinal stem cells is unknown. The aim of our research is to understand the mechanisms behind the formation, maintenance, and differentiation of intestinal epithelial stem cells. To do this, we use genetics and functional genomics to characterise the embryonic and adult intestinal epithelium on both transcriptional and chromatin levels, as well as in vivo cell fate mapping analyses, in vitro organoid forming assays and CRISPR/CAS9. We have identified two distinct populations of embryonic intestinal epithelial progenitors that contribute to the adult intestinal stem cell pool. Currently, we are elucidating a role for each progenitor cell population using in vivo cell ablation assays.

Research website

Positions held

  • Since 2019: Heisenberg Group Leader, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University Medical Center (UMC), Mainz
  • 2012 - 2019: Group Leader, Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Mainz
  • 2004 - 2011: Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Zoology, University of Geneva


  • 2004: PhD in Molecular Biology, Humboldt University, Berlin
  • 1998: Diploma with honours in Molecular Biology, Novosibirsk State University

Selected publications by Natalia Soshnikova

Szenker-Ravi E, Altunoglu U, Leushacke M, Bosso-Lefèvre C, Khatoo M, Thi TH, Naert T, Noelanders R, Hajamohideen A, Beneteau C, de Sousa SB, Karaman B, Latypova X, Başaran S, Yücel EB, Tan TT, Vlaeminck L, Nayak SS, Shukla A, Girisha KM, Le Caignec C, Soshnikova N, Uyguner ZO, Vleminckx K, Barker N, Kayserili H and Reversade B (2018) RSPO2 inhibition of RNF43 and ZNRF3 governs limb development independently of LGR4/5/6Nature, 557: 564-569 Link

Dzama MM, Nigmatullina L, Sayols S, Kreim N and Soshnikova N (2017) Distinct populations of embryonic epithelial progenitors generate Lgr5+ intestinal stem cellsDev Biol, 432: 258-264 Link

Kazakevych J, Sayols S, Messner B, Krienke C and Soshnikova N (2017) Dynamic changes in chromatin states accompany specification of the adult intestinal stem cellsNucleic Acids Research, 45: 5770-5784 Link

Nigmatullina L, Norkin M, Dzama MM, Messner B, Sayols S and Soshnikova N (2017) Id2 controls specification of Lgr5+ intestinal stem cell progenitors during gut developmentThe EMBO J, 36: 869-885 Link

Soshnikova N, Montavon T, Leleu M, Galjart N and Duboule D (2010) Functional analysis of CTCF during mammalian limb development. Dev Cell, 19, 819-830 Link