Education & Training
2017 – present
Postdoctoral Fellow, Developmental Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute (lab of Kat Hadjantonakis)
2011 – 2016
PhD in Developmental Biology, University of Oxford, UK (lab of Elizabeth Robertson)
Thesis title: Transcriptional regulation of Eomesodermin and its roles in cell fate allocation during early mouse development
2008 – 2011
BA in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK
During mammalian pre-implantation development, two successive binary cell fate decisions separate the embryo from two extra-embryonic lineages that support the embryo during gestation. The first cell fate decision specifies outer cells as extra-embryonic trophectoderm, while inner cells form the inner cell mass (ICM). The ICM is then further bifurcated into the extra-embryonic primitive endoderm and the pluripotent embryonic epiblast. Pluripotent cells have the potential to differentiate into germ cells and any somatic tissue, and can be propagated in vitro as embryonic stem cells. However, it is not yet fully understood how the pluripotent state emerges and evolves in the native context of the developing embryo.
My research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanism driving cell fate specification within the ICM to either the pluripotent epiblast or the extra-embryonic primitive endoderm. I am particularly interested in the dynamics of FGF4 signaling in initiating this cell fate decision, and the downstream effectors mediating lineage-specific outputs of FGF/ERK signaling.