Our group is broadly interested in how genomes control cell fate decisions during embryonic development and also later regeneration. In particular we take systems level approaches to construct Gene Regulatory Networks (GRNs) of these process. We are also interested to understand how GRNs evolve and thus how the evolution of genomes leads to the evolution of morphology. We especially focus our research on (i) how gene regulation has evolved (which includes transcriptional evolution of GRNs), (ii) how proteins evolve biochemical differences in function, and (iii) the evolutionary and GRN basis of regeneration. 

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Our lab uses a range of echinoderm species as model systems. These organisms are especially well suited to high throughput analyses as their embryos are easily reared and injected with a range of perturbation reagents.  Their overall simple development also allows us to achieve a systems level understanding of development. Also, as echinoderms  are the phylogentically closest invertebrate phylum to vertebrate animals (which includes humans) our findings have direct relevance to human health. We work with the sea urchins, Stronglyocentrotus purpuratus, Lytechinus variegatus, the sea sea star Patiria miniata and the sea cucumber Parastichopus parvimensis

These larvae also show a remarkable ability to regenerate.  This is allowing us unravel the mechanisms of regeneration.

We use a utilize many approaches and technologies, including molecular biology, genomics, biochemistry, microscopy, high throughput sequencing, embryology and computational biology and frequently collaborate with other groups.