The research interests of the DRSB faculty cover a broad range of topics in modern developmental biology. We study developmental mechanisms at the cell, tissue, organ, organism and population level using both classic model systems such as mouse, zebrafish, chick, Drosophila, C. elegans, Arabidopsis, fission yeast and iPS cells, and less-traditional systems such as ascidians, cnidarians, cephalopods, non-model insects and non-model fishes. Students and postdocs working in DRSB labs learn to incorporate cutting edge genetic and cell biological experimental approaches into their research, including advanced imaging, quantitative modeling, genomics and stem cell engineering. Please explore the menu items below to learn more about the specific research interests of each of our training faculty.
Understanding the dynamic processes that shape cells and pattern tissues over time requires approaches that sit at the interface between cell and developmental biology. Our researchers who work in this area study: the cytoskeleton, cell polarization, cell compartments and signaling, cell-matrix interactions, cell migration, and tissue morphogenesis.
Understanding how developmental processes evolve is central to our understanding of biological form and diversity. Our “evo-devo” researchers use comparative approaches to study: the evolution of the insect body plan, the evolution of limbs using fishes and amphibians, the evolution of the brain and neural circuits, the evolution of the placenta in mammals, and the evolution of primates using induced pluripotent stem cells.
Building the brain is arguably the most complex problem that embryonic development must solve. Our developmental neurobiologists study: early regionalization of the brain, specification of neuronal cell fates, the formation and function of neural circuits, and genetic defects that underlie neurodevelopmental disorders.
Tissue development is under tight regulatory control, and defects in regulatory mechanisms underlie a variety of diseases. Our researchers working in this area study: cell cycle and growth control, cell differentiation, cell death, intercellular signaling, transcription/chromatin dynamics, and the function of tumor suppressor genes. This research has relevance to: cancer, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and hemoglobinopathies.
Research on stem cells and regeneration is critical to our understanding of both normal tissue development and tissue renewal. It also holds great promise for the development of regenerative therapies. Our researchers working in this area study stem cells that give rise to the germline, hematopoietic system, nervous system, and skin, as well as how plants, cnidarians and cephalopods regenerate complex tissues after injury.