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Laboratory of tissue morphogenesis and growth control


Development of tissues and organs start with a few progenitor cells that undergo proliferation and morphogenetic movements to build the final functional forms of tissues and organs. We are an interdisciplinary group combining genetics, cell biology, biochemical, biophysical and computational modeling methods to investigate two critical issues during tissue and organ formation: morphogenesis and growth control.


Example projects:


1) Mechanical regulation of the Hippo pathway.

The Hippo signaling pathway is a key regulatory pathway of organ size in Drosophila and mammals. Deregulation of Hippo signaling pathway leads to massive organ growth in development and various types of cancer. Many lines of evidence have shown that the Hippo pathway is sensitive to mechanical cues, in particular, signals from the actin cytoskeleton. We are investigating the mechanistic link between the actin cytoskeleton and the Hippo pathway.


2) The molecular and cellular basis of cell delamination.

Cell delamination is an important event frequently occurring during development and diseases such as tumor metastasis. However, the molecular and cellular basis of delamination has not been carefully studied due to the difficulty to track single cell event that occurs randomly in vivo. We use Drosophila embryonic neuroblasts as a model to study delamination events. Drosophila embryo neuroblasts delaminate from the embryo surface at stereotypical times and places, which opens opportunities to track, quantify and perturb delamination processes with subcellular spatial resolution in live embryos.

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