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

Secondary cells shown as a cluster of 16 cells (green) next to a larger cell (red) © Benjamin Kroeger
Intracellular compartments in Drosophila secondary cells

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

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

Cortex may regulate the need for sleep

Why we sleep, and the processes behind sleep, are amongst the most interesting questions in modern neuroscience. Researchers at the University of Oxford, including DPAG's Molnár and Vyazovskiy group scientists, have now uncovered a new target for sleep investigations within the mammalian brain – the cerebral cortex. The paper, first authored by Dr Lukas Krone, was published today in Nature Neuroscience.

Reducing fat in the diabetic heart could improve recovery from heart attack

New research from the Heather Group has shown that in type 2 diabetes an overload of lipids reduces the heart’s ability to generate energy during a heart attack, decreasing chances of recovery.

The brain’s one-sided teaching signals

A new study by the Lak group reveals a novel facet of dopamine signalling during visual decision making.