|One of the most
amazing events in biology is the development of a fertilized
egg into a complex, mature organism with diverse cell types,
tissues, and organs. The field of developmental biology seeks
to understand the mechanisms controlling this remarkable
process. To do so, developmental biologists use techniques
developed in the areas of genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry,
and cell biology and ideas derived from the study of gene
expression, cell motility, signal transduction and others.
As many human diseases such as cancer are really diseases
of normal development gone awry, there is also overlap between
developmental biology and areas such as cancer biology. Within
our department, labs study developmental processes in several
model systems, including the cellular amoeba Dictyostelium,
the alga Volvox, the plant Arabidopsis,
the roundworm C. elegans, as well as prostate and
nervous system development in the mouse.
Combining gene mapping and genome expression profiling to understand the genetic basis of age-related changes in the immune response.
Molecular genetic analysis of asymmetric cell division and cell fate determination in the green alga Volvox carteri
We study the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in controlling cell fate decisions during C. elegans development. We also study regulation and function of the Hox gene lin-39 in C. elegans.
Genes involved in developmental morphogenesis are studied. The genes are are involved in facilating the migration of cells and in restricting developmental fate.
We are studying the molecular basis of region- and tissue-specific expression of homeobox genes.
We are investigating the regulation of brain development and metabolism. These studies are expected to contribute to the prevention of neural tube birth defects and the treatment of stroke.
Tumor immunology; cancer vaccines for the activation of tumor-specific CD4+ T lymphocytes; tumor-induced immune suppression
During development, many cells must move to new sites to fulfill their functions. We study the specification of these cells and the signals that control the timing and direction of their movements.