Quantitative Morphogenesis Laboratory

University of Toronto

During embryonic development and tissue repair, groups of cells coordinate their behaviours to (re) generate tissue form and function. Cell coordination involves diverse cellular processes such as motility, adhesion, and the generation and transmission of mechanical forces. We use a combination of bioengineering, molecular and cell biological tools in the fruit fly embryo to determine the mechanisms that integrate the behaviours of multiple cells to generate specific changes in tissue organization. We investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms of collective cell movements during a variety of processes using a three-pronged approach. First, we use computational and live imaging methods to determine the cell behaviours and molecular dynamics involved in a given process. Second, we screen for molecules that affect the process, with an emphasis on the identification of regulators of force-generating subcellular structures. Finally, we apply biophysical tools to investigate how cell coordination is influenced by the mechanical properties of the surrounding tissue, and how these properties are regulated during the morphogenetic process.

The RFG Lab is hiring! Please get in touch if you are interested in understanding the cellular and molecular dynamics of tissue repair, using fly genetics, microscopy, image analysis, and biophysical methods.