SKI’s Developmental Biology Program is one of the most well-regarded and innovative programs of its type in the world, with a rich history of major contributions to the field. Our scientists study the mechanisms that control development from the single cell of the egg to the adult animal. They employ a variety of experimental tools, including genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry, as well as model systems, in order to address complex questions of pattern formation, organogenesis, and morphogenesis in the context of the whole animal. They are leaders in the study of both invertebrate and mammalian development. Several of our faculty participate in the Center for Stem Cell Biology at MSK, which is developing innovative therapies for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.

Scientists in the program focus on several different areas, including:

  • Developmental Genetics
  • Patterning of Tissues and Organs
  • Intercellular Signaling in Development and Cancer
  • Stem Cells and Organoids

Our Faculty

  • Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis, PhD
    Chair, Developmental Biology Program
    The Hadjantonakis laboratory studies pluripotency and cell fate specification, tissue patterning and morphogenesis, in mammalian embryos and stem cell-derived embryo models.
  • Zhirong Bao, PhD
    The Bao laboratory investigates how the genome dictates development using C. elegans as a model.
  • Mary Baylies, PhD
    The Baylies laboratory studies the mechanisms that form and maintain muscle both during normal development and in disease.
  • Junhong Choi, PhD
    The Choi Lab develops new synthetic biology tools to study cell-fate decisions in development.
  • Danwei Huangfu, PhD
    The Huangfu laboratory uses human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) as a powerful genetic model to interrogate the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms underlying cell fate decisions in development and disease.
  • Maria Jasin, PhD
    The Jasin laboratory focuses on double-strand break repair and genomic integrity in mammalian cells and the relationship to tumor suppression.
  • Alexandra Joyner, PhD
    The Joyner laboratory studies the involvement of Hedgehog signaling and transcription factors in cerebellum development, regeneration and cancer.
  • Eric C. Lai, PhD
    The Lai laboratory integrates genetics, biochemistry, and genomewide approaches to study diverse regulatory networks during patterning and behavior.
  • Joo-Hyeon Lee, PhD
    The Lee laboratory studies the mechanisms governing homeostatic turnover and reparative programs in stem cells, with a focus on elucidating how tissue perturbations lead to lung disease.
  • Lorenz Studer, MD
    The Studer laboratory investigates human stem cells as tools to understand normal and pathological development in the nervous system and to develop cell-based strategies for regenerative medicine.
  • Thomas S. Vierbuchen, PhD
    The Vierbuchen laboratory directs the differentiation of mouse and human pluripotent stem cells to characterize fundamental mechanisms of neuronal cell fate specification and function.
  • Jennifer A. Zallen, PhD
    The Zallen laboratory focuses on the generation of tissue structure through the collective action of cell populations.

Emeritus and Former Members

Collaborations & Resources

SKI offers a wide array of core facilities and other technologies, as well as significant opportunity for collaboration. Members of the Developmental Biology Program derive particular benefit from close ties to the following:

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