We study how cells interact to form organs during development to learn more about human health and disease
Our lab looks closely at the way cells organise themselves to form whole tissues.
The patterns cells form, their growth and when they die all influence the final shape and structure of the tissues that build the human body.
Cells are tightly co-ordinated in development to make sure tissues end up in the right place in an appropriate size. Cell to cell interactions are a crucial part of this co-ordination.
We investigate the signals cells send one another and how these signals are controlled.
Signalling molecules also help recognise and destroy cells that no longer work properly and help to make sure tissues grow just the right size for the body.
By learning more about how cells communicate to build tissues we hope to identify which molecules and processes are linked to diseases like cancer, when cells grow uncontrollably, or neurodegeneration, when cells die.
The fruit fly Drosophila is an excellent model for our research. We also grow cells in the lab and are working on a mouse model to study the role of specific signalling pathways.
Overall, our lab merges research techniques borrowed from genetic engineering, cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry and physics to learn more about how cells organise themselves to form healthy tissues.