The study of processes that determine how animals grow and develop is at the forefront of medical research. Developmental signals coordinate and define the differentiation of cells (i.e. changes of one cell type into another), the patterning (i.e. organization of cell fates in space and time) and morphogenesis (i.e. shape development) of tissues and organs that occur during embryonic life. Accurate control of these signals is also central for the regeneration and homeostasis of adult tissues.
Understanding the molecular basis of developmental signals will help guide therapies for birth defects and those that impact adult organ function. Notably, cancer is a disease thought to arise from aberrant developmental signals. Moreover, advancements in stem cell biology rely on our basic knowledge of developmental events.
Laboratories in the department combine diverse cell and animal models with state-of-the-art technologies to study these aspects of Developmental Biology.
Faculty conducting research in these areas: