Researchers in the Development and Aging Program are taking several approaches to understand the molecular basis of embryological development, from a fertilized egg to the establishment of the embryonic axis, to the differentiation and morphogenesis of individual tissues, their homeostasis under different metabolic and environmental conditions, and finally to the process of aging. Many of our projects use model systems, such as C. elegans (worms), Drosophila (fruit flies), and mice, to investigate how the activities of signaling molecules and transcription factors are integrated to control developmental processes.
How our research helps improve health
Understanding fundamental principles in biology during development, organ function, and aging constitutes the basis of all medical advances and represents the backbone of any therapeutic intervention. Current studies are focused on understanding the mechanisms that control the development and physiology of the brain, heart, skeleton, and pancreas. The program's research analyzes invertebrate and vertebrate model systems, as well as primary human tissue, with projects focused on understanding congenital heart disease and cardiac malfunction, skeletal mineralization disorders, cellular complexity in the brain, and pancreatic islet regeneration and regulation of insulin-producing beta-cells in normal versus diabetic states.