Understanding how a functional organ can be produced from a small group of precursor cells remains an outstanding question in cell and developmental biology. The developing compound eye of Drosophila melanogaster has long been a model of choice for addressing this question by dissecting the cellular, genetic and molecular pathways that govern cell specification, differentiation, and multicellular patterning during organogenesis.
Our work focuses on cell and tissue morphogenesis during fly retinal development, including the regulated changes in cell shape and cell packing that ultimately determine the shape and architecture of the compound eye. We are particularly interested in uncovering new principles and mechanisms that regulate the cell shape changes, cell-cell junction remodeling and polarized membrane growth that underlie photoreceptor morphogenesis and retinal patterning.
Lab Web page : www.pichaudlab.org