Our laboratory is interested in understanding the genes and processes that promote early embryonic development.
We use mouse as a model organism, and forward genetics as our experimental approach, to isolate mutations that disrupt the normal morphology of the mouse embryo. Our screens have identified mutations disrupting basic developmental processes such as gastrulation, elongation of the body axis and development of extraembryonic tissues. We are also studying several mutations that model human congenital birth defects in neural tube closure (exencephaly, anencephaly and spina bifida).
We draw on histological and imaging techniques to characterize the morphological defects of our mutants, as well as from genomic approaches to identify the genes disrupted. Additionally, we use molecular biology, genetics and cell/embryo culture to gain mechanistic insight into how the genes identified ultimately control cell behavior and embryonic development.