Morphogenesis and Organogenesis
Morphogenesis is one of the major outstanding problems in the biological sciences. It concerns the fundamental question of how biological form and structure are generated. Morphogenesis encompasses a broad scope of biological processes. It concerns adult as well as embryonic tissues, and includes an understanding of the maintenance, degeneration, and regeneration of tissues and organs as well as their formation. Morphogenesis also addresses the problem of biological form at many levels, from the structure of individual cells, through the formation of multicellular arrays and tissues, to the higher order assembly of tissues into organs and whole organisms. While related to the field of developmental biology with its traditional emphasis on the control of gene expression and the acquisition of cell fates, morphogenesis investigates how this regulation of cell fates contributes to the form and structure of the organism and its component parts. The University of Virginia is well positioned to make a major impact in morphogenesis and regenerative medicine. It already possesses remarkable strengths in the basic fields of cell adhesion, cell motility, cell signaling, and nuclear functions, as well as in developmental biology, cardiovascular biology, and biomedical engineering. The University of Virginia's Morphogenesis and Regenerative Medicine Institute will capitalize on these strengths to become the world's leading research program in morphogenesis and regenerative medicine.
The stimulation of
Nodal and BMP signaling pathway
at the animal pole of a zebrafish embryo results in the formation
of a second tail (embryo at the bottom) compared
to wild-type embryo (top). Courtesy of Thisse lab.