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Developmental Biology and Disease

Developmental Biology and Disease deals with the fascinating question of how a complex organism is generated from a single cell. These studies give insights into what can go wrong during early development, how organs in our bodies adapt and change throughout life, and ultimately how we age.

We have major strengths in pattern formation, epithelial morphogenesis, cell signalling and neural development, studying processes that occur at the level of single cells up to whole tissues and organs. There is a focus on non-mammalian model systems, particularly Drosophila, zebrafish and chick, which is complemented by expertise in mouse genetics. The knowledge we gain from studies of development is also used to generate animal models of human disease.

Recent publications

List of recent journal articles from members of the Developmental Biology and Disease theme.


Principal investigators

StaffProfessor Peter Andrews

Mechanisms of fate determination in human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC); genetic stability and the relation of hPSC to cancer; neural crest differentiation from hPSC.

StaffDr Mark Bass

Fibroblast migration during wound healing: signalling from extracellular matrix receptors to Rho-family GTPases.

StaffDr Anne-Gaelle Borycki

Satellite cell biology and skeletal muscle regeneration.

StaffDr Natalia Bulgakova

Role of cell-cell adhesion in morphogenesis.

StaffDr Kyra Campbell

Epithelial cell plasticity in development and disease

StaffDr Vincent Cunliffe

Development of the Zebrafish Central Nervous System.

StaffProfessor Andrew Furley

Role of L1CAM-like adhesion molecules in neural development.

StaffDr Emily Noel

Congenital heart diseases affect around 1% of live births, and are structural defects that arise from improper morphogenesis of the heart during embryonic development.

StaffProfessor Marysia Placzek

Neural patterning and hypothalamic differentiation.

StaffDr Henry Roehl

Zebrafish musculoskeletal development.

StaffProfessor David Strutt

Planar cell polarity – Coordination and maintenance of cell polarity during development, with a primary interest in the roles of the Frizzled sevenpass transmembrane receptor.

StaffDr Matthew Towers

Vertebrate limb development.

StaffDr Anestis Tsakiridis

Stem cell potency in development and disease.

StaffDr Freek van Eeden

Disease models and Shh receptor function in zebrafish.

StaffProfessor Tanya Whitfield

Development of the fish inner ear.

StaffDr Martin Zeidler

JAK/STAT pathway– a signaling cascade frequently misactivated in haematopoietic malignancies. High throughput RNAi screening technologies and developmental genetic assays in Drosophila to determine the mechanisms of action of pathway regulators and their interactions in vivo.