Developmental Biology

Heads of Division - Dr James Briscoe and Dr Jean-Paul Vincent

How do the complex tissues and organs of animals develop in a precise and reproducible manner? The progressive specialisation of naïve cells and the emergence of patterns within tissues are fundamental processes underlying the development and function of multicellular organisms. The goal of our division is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for producing order and pattern in complex tissues. Briscoe’s group studies the vertebrate central nervous system, Logan's group the formation and patterning of the vertebrate limb, Mohun's group the development of the heart, Oates's group the process of vertebrate segmentation, Ober's group formation of the liver and Vincent’s group signalling, trafficking and apoptosis in epithelia.

We use a variety of models (mouse, chick, fish, frog, flies and ES cells) and experimental methods (genetics and transgenics; genomics; experimental embryology; imaging, including quantitative and innovative techniques; transcriptional profiling; mass spectrometry and mathematical modeling). This provides a foundation for collaborative interactions, allowing each group to use the most appropriate approach to address fundamental questions in cell and developmental biology. From studying normal cell differentiation and embryo development, we hope to gain insights into the origins of developmental abnormalities and the abnormal behaviour of cells in disease.

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