Researchers in the Developmental Biology Program study the mechanisms that control development from the single cell of the egg to the adult animal. A variety of experimental tools are used, including genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry, in order to address complex questions of pattern formation, organogenesis, and morphogenesis in the context of the whole animal.
Many key regulators of development have been identified in genetic screens. Researchers at SKI are using forward genetics in both Drosophila and the mouse to characterize more of the genes and processes that control patterning, morphogenesis, and cell type determination during development.
Patterning of Tissues and Organs
Construction of organs depends on interactions between tissues and signal integration. Researchers in the Developmental Biology Program use experimental embryology, cell biology, and genetics to learn how information is integrated and elaborated in the development of limbs, muscles, the hematopoietic system, the nervous system, and internal organs.
Intercellular Signaling in Development and Cancer
The same intercellular signals that control proliferation and differentiation in development can control tumor development in tumors. These common signals are a focus for study in this program.
Research in the program includes studies of the control of behavior of neural stem cells. This includes studies on the signals and microenvironment that allow stem cells to remain undifferentiated and the signals that lead stem cells to differentiate into specific types of neurons.