Development and Regeneration
studies cell signaling networks that direct the fertilized egg to
develop into a complex multicellular organism. These networks control
the fundamental processes of cell growth, differentiation,
morphogenesis that underlie normal development and tissue maintenance.
When mutated, these networks can be subverted, leading to devastating
conditions such as cancer and birth defects. A major challenge in the
field is to understand how cells integrate different developmental
signals and interpret morphogen gradients, and in turn produce
coordinated readouts of cell proliferation, polarity, motility, and
adhesion. Investigators in the Department of Cell Biology are tackling
this challenge using diverse experimental systems including animal,
explant, and cell-culture models. Research areas encompass many key
developmental events including fertilization, axis formation,
gastrulation, organogenesis (e.g. neural crest migration, sensory hair
cell differentiation) and neuronal morphogenesis. Empowered with a
growing array of embryological, imaging, molecular and genetic tools,
these studies are beginning to
reveal the cellular and molecular events during development with unprecedented detail, providing new insights into how genes give rise to tissues, organs and anatomy. Developmental biology integrates seamlessly with other research themes in the department, and is a growing component of the Department of Cell Biology and the Morphogenesis & Regenerative Medicine Institute.
A slice of the brain
of a newborn mouse carrying
the reporter, TCA-TLZ, shows the thalamic axons
projecting to the cerebral cortex.
Courtesy of Dwyer lab.