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How is the embryo built - and rebuilt - during development?

During development, a single cell divides to generate all cells and lineages in the body. As extraordinary as this is, what is perhaps even more remarkable is that our developing tissues have the capacity to tolerate different perturbations, though this ability is lost later in life.

Our goal is to understand how lineages form in normal development, and to define the mechanisms driving resilience and robustness in perturbed development. We aim to apply our findings to a broad range of fundamental and applied questions in biology, from improving our basic understanding of embryogenesis, to understanding how tissue resilience may be targeted or enhanced during disease or aging.


Approaches & questions

Tracing cell lineages in vivo


What are the lineage routes toward generating diverse cell types during mammalian embryogenesis? We make use of next-generation in vivo and in vitro tools, including barcoding-based mouse models that allow us to trace millions of cells simultaneously alongside transcriptome readouts, all at the single cell level.

What are the mechanisms underlying embryonic resilience?

We want to understand the molecular mechanisms that enable developing tissues to recover from cell loss, injury, and other insults. For example, how do tissues buffer diverse perturbations in development? Why are some tissues more resilient than others? Why is this capacity lost later in life? 


To what extent are lineages plastic in development?

As well as being interested in understanding how diverse cell types are generated in normal development, we want to understand how lineages can change and adapt in response to insult. In other words, how many ways are there of generating an organism? 

Images created using BioRender 

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