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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 ...

Spatiotemporal dissection of vascular heterogeneity
Stone Group

Spatiotemporal dissection of vascular ...

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 ...

Investigating regulatory mechanisms of cardiac development, repair and regeneration.
Vieira Group

Investigating regulatory mechanisms of cardiac ...

Exosomes, Microcarriers and Regulated Secretion: Complex Forms of Inter-Cellular and Inter-Organism Communication
Wilson Group

Exosomes, Microcarriers and Regulated Secretion: ...

Latest news

‘Junk’ DNA could be rewiring our brains

A new study by Waddell Group Neuroscientists at the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour shows that mobile genetic elements that were active in the genomes of our ancestors could be closely linked to important functions in our brain and might help diversify our behaviour, cognition and emotions.

The transient blueprint of the brain

Transient neurones match the spontaneous and sensory driven activities to shape cortical circuits: a landmark collaborative review published in Science from Professor Zoltán Molnár, Professor Patrick Kanold and Professor Heiko Luhmann.

Sites of early dysfunction in Parkinson's identified

A new collaborative study from the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre led by Prof Stephanie Cragg and Dr Bradley Roberts has revealed that GABA transporters on astrocytes, the brain's lesser known yet critically important cells, support dopamine release and are sites of early dysfunction in parkinsonism.