Associate Professor of Biology
Research Staff Member. In the lab of Dr. Eric Wieschaus, Princeton University, USA, 2000-2005.
Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Dr. Eric Wieschaus, Princeton University, USA, 1997-2000.
Ph.D., Genetics, Wellcome/CRC Institute, University of Cambridge, UK. Thesis advisor: Dr. Michael Akam. 1992-97.
B.Sc.(Hons.) Natural Sciences (Part II Genetics), Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, UK, 1987-1990.
B.Sc. - Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge.
Ph.D. - Wellcome/CRC Institute, University of Cambridge.
My lab is interested in the process of morphogenesis. We study how cells change their shape during development to mould an embryo into its final shape and form. We are also interested in understanding how these mechanisms have evolved, and how differences in these processes account for differences seen between the embryos of different species.
We use the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to study some of the earliest cell shape changes that drive prospective mesoderm cells into the inside of the embryo during gastrulation. We are particularly interested in the pathway initiated by the signal, folded gastrulation (fog). The fog gene is unique to Drosophila but it feeds into a highly conserved pathway involving a RhoGTPase and eventual activation of myosin contractility.
Current projects in the lab involve further investigation into the fog pathway, to better understand aspects of its conservation and divergence and the origins of the unique fog gene. We are also undertaking some analysis of gastrulation in other insects to gain insight into the evolution of this fundamental embryo-shaping process.