Our lab studies the development and morphogenesis of epithelial tissues from stem/progenitor cells.
Current interests include:
Asymmetric Cell Divisions - We have shown that asymmetric cell divisions promote stratification and differentiation of the epidermis. We are now trying to understand how cells orient their mitotic spindles in distinct orientations, how the epidermis commits to asymmetric cell divisions, and how cells choose their division orientation.
Control of Cytoskeleton Organization - Our lab has discovered a novel role for cell adhesion in controlling microtubule organization. The desmosome recruits centrosomal proteins that reorganize microtubules. We are unraveling the protein complexes that desmosomes recruit and studying the function of these proteins in both centrosomes and desmosomes.
Morphogenesis of the Intestine - The intestinal epithelia is morphologically very distinct from the epidermis. We are interested in understanding how common machinery is used differently in these two tissues to generate such diversity in cell shape and function.
We use a variety of approaches including mouse genetics, time-lapse microscopy, biochemistry, and molecular/cellular biology. Our goal is to be able to observe morphogenetic processes in living cells/tissues/animals, and to understand the molecular and cellular basis for morphogenesis using genetic approaches in the mouse.