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Systems Morphogenesis

With recent developments in imaging and genetically encoded fluorescent markers like GFP it is now possible to follow the development of a complex multicellular animal from a single fertilised egg. Watching the way in which orchestrated changes in cell morphology, migration, division and death pattern and shape tissues is truly awe-inspiring. Although we know many of the genes that regulate large-scale patterning and morphogenesis in animals, we still understand little about the genetic programmes and cellular processes that are responsible for these events.

Significantly, identical cells have different shapes and behaviours in the context of a tissue, and exhibit highly stochastic behaviour. Moreover, genetically identical animals can follow different paths to the same outcome. Therefore the process is not determined, for example by well-behaved pre-established morphogen gradients, but is an example of biological self-organisation. Understanding it therefore requires a new systems approach.

To better understand how complex sets of stochastic processes at the level of molecules and cells give rise to predictable and well-organised behaviour at the scale of an entire tissue, this interdisciplinary group of biologists, physicists, computer scientists and mathematicians will apply novel analytical and experimental approaches, including genetics, functional genomics, live cell imaging, image analysis and modelling to the study of development and homeostasis in a variety of model systems. 

This research grouping involves researchers from UCL as well as members of affiliated institutions, the London Research Institute and the National Institute for Medical Research.

Researchers

> Buzz Baum
> Peter Bentley
> Guillaume Charras
> Lewis Griffin
> Paola Oliveri
> Karen Page
> Claudio Stern

London Research Institute

> Paul Bates
> Julian Lewis
> Gipi Schiavo
> Barry Thompson
> Alex Tournier

MRC National Institute for Medical Research

> Malcolm Logan
> Tim Mohun
> Jim Smith

Page last modified on 20 jul 10 15:34


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