Development & Cell Biology
Understanding growth, evolution and the onset of disease
Our development and cell biology theme is home to the largest assembly of developmental biologists in the University, and tackles research questions fundamental to understanding evolution, growth, organ formation, the onset of disease and tissue regeneration.
While our research interests are diverse and necessarily cut across other themes with the department, all of our work is guided by a fundamental desire to dissect the molecular and cellular mechanisms which underlie developmental and reproductive processes. The majority of our work is conducted in vivo, embracing the inherent complexity of using model organisms in order to acquire the most clinically relevant findings possible.
Our research is, through necessity, multidisciplinary, bringing together techniques such as state-of-the-art live cell imaging and genetic analysis to understand the developmental, evolutionary, and reproductive aspects of life. Our researchers currently study some of the most fundamental questions facing biology today: how cells are regulated to move and correctly develop embryos, for instance, or the basic science which dictates healthy development of cerebral and cardiovascular systems.
Unsurprisingly, our research is having a significant impact on clinical thinking. While some aspects of our work focus specifically on disease-related problems - such as the regulation of growth and its relevance to cancer and diabetes - others tackle issues that look set to become increasingly important in the near future, such as how to restore embryonic potential to adult stem cells for tissue repair.
All told, we believe that by understanding development, it is possible to shed light on some of the current and future challenges in translating basic biological understanding into clinical medicine.