Research & Publications
I am Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. My doctoral research at the University of Chicago with Chip Ferguson demonstrated the conservation of dorsal-ventral patterning mechanisms between insects and vertebrates, identified noggin as a BMP inhibitor and originated concept of facilitated morphogen diffusion. I was a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow with Nobel Laureate Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany. As a postdoc, I discovered the zebrafish segmentation clock, a genetic mechanism that leads to vertebral defects such as scoliosis when perturbed in humans. My lab studies the systems developmental biology, biophysics and biomechanics of vertebral column development in zebrafish. We combine in vivo single molecule biophysics, embryology, genetics, live imaging and systems level data analysis and computer modeling to study pattern formation and morphogenesis. We discovered roles for regulated tissue fluidity, self-organized ECM assembly and ECM-mediated inter-tissue adhesion in early spinal column development. My lab’s research has been supported by grants from the NIH, NSF, the American Cancer Society and the March of Dimes.
Education & Training
- PhDUniversity of Chicago
- Postdoctoral FellowMax Planck Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Tübingen, Germany