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We dissect the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying a range of developmental and reproductive processes.

© Intracellular compartments in Drosophila secondary cells (Benjamin Kroeger)

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.



Groups within this theme

Understanding Cerebellar Development and Disease
Becker Group

Understanding Cerebellar Development and Disease

Optical probing of neural networks in the developing neocortex
Butt Group

Optical probing of neural networks in the ...

Regulation of blood and lymphatic vessel development
De Val Group

Regulation of blood and lymphatic vessel ...

Proton dependence of intracellular calcium signalling in the cerebellum in health and disease - role of extracellular pH sensing receptors and ion channels.
Glitsch Group

Proton dependence of intracellular calcium ...

Growth Regulation and Cancer: mTORC1, Exosomes and Cellular Amino Acid Sensing
Goberdhan Group

Growth Regulation and Cancer: mTORC1, Exosomes ...

Genetic Dissection of Sexual Behaviour
Goodwin Group

Genetic Dissection of Sexual Behaviour

Cerebral Cortical Development and Evolution
Molnar Group

Cerebral Cortical Development and Evolution

Heart regeneration & development
Mommersteeg Group

Heart regeneration & development

Development, homeostasis and regeneration of the cardiovascular system
Smart Group

Development, homeostasis and regeneration of the ...

Investigating the Genetic and Environmental Causes of Congenital Heart Disease
Sparrow Group

Investigating the Genetic and Environmental ...

Patterning and morphogenesis of the early mammalian embryo
Srinivas Group

Patterning and morphogenesis of the early ...

We study postnatal and adult mammalian brain stem cells to uncover fundamental developmental mechanisms and disease pathogenesis.
Szele Group

We study postnatal and adult mammalian brain stem ...

Cell Biology of Exosome Signalling, Secretion and Growth in Normal and Cancer Cells at Super-Resolution
Wilson Group

Cell Biology of Exosome Signalling, Secretion and ...

Latest news

New insights into how the brain makes sense of our constantly changing soundscape

We experience a wide range of sounds at varying levels. The brain's auditory neurons constantly adapt their responses to changes in sound level to help us perceive and understand what we hear. King Group researchers have previously demonstrated how these neurons do this and have now produced new evidence for exactly where this happens in the brain and the perceptual consequences of these adaptations.

Malnutrition linked with increased risk of Zika birth defects

The severity of Zika virus-related deformations in babies has been shown to be affected by environmental factors such as maternal nutrition. The study was partially funded by a joint MRC Grant between DPAG's Professor Zoltán Molnár and Associate Professor Patricia Garcez of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Understanding the mechanisms driving a major type of immune cell to keep our gut healthy

A news and views article review published in Nature Immunology by Domingos Group researchers examines significant recent research revealing how group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s), the cells responsible for protecting the gut and maintaining intestinal homeostasis, are regulated. In doing so, they also reveal important new research avenues of ILCs activation in the body.