Toby Andrews


I am a Developmental Biologist, with an interest in the emergence of complex form in embryogenesis and evolution. In the lab, my work strives towards a systems perspective of morphogenesis, by combining classical embryological strategies and developmental genetics with quantitative imaging and morphometrics. 

I obtained a BSc in Anatomy and Developmental Biology from King's College London, which included an extended research project characterising transcriptional networks downstream of Sonic Hedgehog signalling in the chick limb and craniofacial skeleton. I then moved to Cambridge on a Wellcome Trust PhD Studentship in Developmental Mechanisms. In my Masters year, I studied mechanisms of axial elongation and segmentation in zebrafish, red flour beetle and amphioxus embryos. My PhD project expanded from this, seeking to develop experimental and analytical pipelines to study morphogenesis in amphioxus, and in doing so shine light on how the first members of our phylum were built. This included multivariate shape analysis to predict trajectories of cell shape change, fate mapping with vital dyes, and multiplex gene expression analysis for cell state classification in situ

My postdoctoral research is focussed on dissecting the information flows governing robust morphogenesis in the zebrafish heart - an elegant system in which intricate cellular architecture emerges progressively from early stochastic processes, within a functioning organ. This is to the greater understanding of what makes morphogenetic systems robust, and where plasticity exists within them for aberations to arise in pathology and evolution. 



Qualifications and history

King's College London, UK
Anatomical Society Summer Studentship
King's College London, UK
BSc Anatomy, Developmental and Human Biology
University of Cambridge, UK
MPhil Developmental Biology
University of Cambridge, UK
PhD Developmental Biology
Francis Crick Institute
Postdoctoral Training Fellow