Quantitative Morphogenesis Laboratory

University of Toronto

Research Interests

Wound repair

Wound repair is a conserved morphogenetic process that involves changes in cell shape, molecular localization, and the distribution of mechanical forces to close a discontinuity in a tissue. Because wound closure in embryos occurs in the absence of inflammation or scarring, understanding its molecular basis will be of high clinical relevance for surgical recovery and regenerative medicine. We use quantitative biochemical and biophysical techniques to examine the coordinated cell response to heal laser-induced wounds.

Heart development

Heart tube formation is the initial process in heart development across species. In Drosophila , two rows of cardiac precursors (cardioblasts)  migrate from opposite sides of the embryo and meet to form a tube. Each row consists of 52 cardioblasts, all of which coordinate their movements. While the genetic pathways that specify cardiac cell fates are well characterized, little is known about the mechanisms of cardioblast movement and coordination. We investigate how cardioblasts conduct and coordinate their migration during heart tube development.

Collective cell behaviours in epithelial morphogenesis

Our general interest is in how cells coordinate their behaviours, including cell migration, intercalation, division, etc. Thus, we occasionally dive into developmental processes that display interesting collective cellular dynamics. Examples of this include the cellular rearrangements and oriented cell divisions that contribute to head-to-tail axis elongation; or most recently, the mechanisms that control timely internalization of a set of neuronal and glial progenitors in the Drosophila embryo.