As a laboratory of developmental biology, our guiding interest is to comprehend how complex biological patterns can be assembled with stereotyped precision. This requires a detailed understanding of how cells come to execute appropriate behaviors — be it adoption of specific cell fates, proliferation, or apoptosis — and do so at the right times, in the right places, and in the right numbers. Dysfunction of processes that direct normal tissue patterning results not only in developmental disorder but also underlies adult disease. Tellingly, many factors whose mutation is relevant to human cancer were first identified and characterized with respect to development in model organisms.
Eric C. Lai, PhD
Research FocusDevelopmental biologist Eric Lai focuses on the control of developmental patterning by Notch signaling and microRNAs.
EducationPhD, University of California, San Diego
- Okamura K, Ladewig E, Zhou L, Lai EC. Functional small RNAs are generated from select miRNA hairpin loops in flies and mammals. Genes Dev. 2013 Apr 1;27(7):778-92. doi: 10.1101/gad.211698.112. Epub 2013 Mar 27.
- Dai Q, Andreu-Agullo C, Insolera R, Wong LC, Shi SH, Lai EC. BEND6 is a nuclear antagonist of Notch signaling during self-renewal of neural stem cells. Development. 2013 May;140(9):1892-902. doi: 10.1242/dev.087502.
- Louise and Allston Boyer Young Investigator Award for Basic Research, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (2009)
- Kimmel Scholar, Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research (2007-2009)
- V Scholar, V Foundation for Cancer Research (2006-2008)
- Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, Burroughs Wellcome Fund (2005)
- Special Fellow, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (2004-2006)
- Fellow, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation (2000-2003)
- First elucidation of the major basis of miRNA-target recognition
- Discovery of novel transcription and signaling and factors that regulate neural development