Embryogenesis and Developmental Biology
During early development, cell interaction and movement are critical to produce the multiple tissues and organs that form the adult. Delays, abnormal cell interaction or abnormal cell position results in dramatic diseases that can affect one or multiple organs. Animal models of development allow us to investigate cell interactions and morphogenesis in the context of the whole animal. We can then test how alterations in key genes, cellular pathways or environmental agents affect normal development to understand the etiology of debilitating diseases including craniofacial deformities, diabetes, infertility, cancer, and multiple other disease and syndromes. The Alfandari and Cousin groups look at how the induction and migration of cranial neural crest cells produces all of the craniofacial structures as well as key component of the auditory system. The Tremblay and Timme-Laragy labs all use model developmental organisms, including mouse, drosophila and zebrafish, respectively, to study the development of endoderm-derived organs. The Tremblay lab uses the mouse to study endoderm induction and organogenesis, with a focus on the liver and pancreas. She has developed an ex vivo system that enables the study of genes, pathways and environmental agents and assess their effects on the initial inductive stages of liver, pancreas and thyroid development.