Our highly decorated faculty include National Academy members, HHMI investigators, Macarthur awardees, and presidents of several professional societies. These prominent individuals and the rest of the DRB at both junior and senior levels use a variety of experimental systems to address their questions.

Megan Martik

Our team is focused on understanding the regulatory networks controlling the development of the neural crest from a multipotent stem cell population into unique derivatives. We study how these networks are re-used during adult repair processes, how these networks become dysregulated at the onset of disease, and how these networks evolve to give rise to morphological novelties.

Martik Lab Website

James Nuñez

The core interest of our group is to understand the regulatory principles of the human genome. Specifically, we investigate the molecular principles underlying epigenetic memory and inheritance in mammalian cells. We combine functional genomics CRISPR screens, cell biology, and biochemistry to answer our research questions.

Nuñez Faculty Page

Ian Swinburne

Our laboratory studies how tissues, cells, and subcellular dynamics coordinate to generate organs and initiate physiologies. The lab’s current goal is to understand the mechanisms of hydraulic control within vertebrate organs. We combine multi-scale imaging, genetics, and physical approaches to uncover the principles underlying the formation and function of tissue-scale pressure relief valves in the ear and the eye.

Swinburne Lab Website

Gokul Upadhyayula

Our research interests bridge applied engineering with basic science. We are interested in mechanistic questions addressed at a molecular level using optical imaging acquired with high temporal and spatial resolution.

Upadhyayula Faculty Page

Hernan Garcia

Our lab uses a combination of new technologies, quantitative experiments, and statistical mechanics in order to provide new insights about cellular decision making during development. In particular, we aim to link the specification of macroscopic body parts in an organism to the non-equilibrium molecular-scale processes inside single cells. The ultimate goal of this interdisciplinary research is to produce a predictive understanding of developmental programs which will enable the rational control of biological size, shape and function.

Garcia Lab Website

Xavier Darzacq

By developing novel methods to study the rapid diffusive behavior and kinetics of transcription factors (TFs) in live cells, our lab strives to open a new window into the molecular dynamics of gene regulation. We are interested in the ways in which dynamic binding of proteins modulates the exquisite temporal regulation of transcription while navigating and possibly influencing genome organisation.

Tjian + Darzacq Group Website

Helen Bateup

Research in the Bateup lab aims to uncover the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders. To do this they are using genetically engineered mouse models to determine how disease-associated mutations affect neuronal and glia development, synaptic function, neural network activity and behavior. In addition, they are using human stem cell-derived brain organoids to model the early development of the human brain and investigate how this is disrupted by disease-causing mutations. Their ultimate goal is to use this information to inform the design of novel therapeutics for neurodevelopmental disorders.

Bateup Lab Website

Dirk Hockemeyer

Our goal is to shed light on the key functions of telomeres and telomerase in tissue homeostasis, tumorigenesis and aging. Our laboratory will use these gene targeting strategies to study the biology of human telomeres to address:
  • What is the mechanism of telomerase regulation in human stem cells, upon their differentiation and during tumor formation?
  • What are the molecular mechanisms underlying the recruitment of telomerase to the telomere in human cells?
  • What are the consequences of telomere shortening in stem cells and how does this impact tumor formation?

Hockemeyer Faculty Page

Noah Whiteman

Our research group studies the molecular basis of adaptations arising from the ancient arms race between toxic plants and the animals and microbes that attack them. We focus on understanding the molecular bases (genetic, biochemical, physiological) of plant-insect chemical co-evolution, particularly the ways in which plant toxins are sensed and metabolized by animals.

Whiteman Lab Website

Craig Miller

We study how pattern forms during development and changes during evolution. We focus on the vertebrate head skeleton, using a genetic approach in the threespine stickleback fish, a species complex that has repeatedly evolved head skeletal adaptations. We seek to understand the genetic basis of craniofacial and dental pattern and how alterations to these genes result in evolved differences in morphology.

Miller Lab Website

Lin He

Our research group's overall research interest is to understand the unique biological functions and molecular regulation of various non-coding RNAs and transposable elements in development and disease. We aim to understand the distinct biological functions and molecular regulation conferred by miRNAs, long ncRNAs and retrotransposons in development and disease using an interdisciplinary approach which combines mouse genetics, genomics, imaging studies, cell biology, and molecular biology.

He Lab Website

Nicole King

The origin of animals represents one of the pivotal transitions in life’s history, and one of its greatest unsolved mysteries. While the fossil record remains silent regarding the rise of multicellularity, the genetic and developmental foundations of animal origins may be deduced from shared elements among extant animals and their protozoan relatives, the choanoflagellates. To better understand the origin and evolution of animals, we are:
  • reconstructing the minimal genomic complexity of the unicellular progenitors of animals
  • elucidating the ancestral functions of genes required for animal development
  • characterizing the molecular mechanisms underlying choanoflagellate cell/developmental biology and the interactions between choanoflagellates and bacteria

King Lab Website

David Bilder

Research in my laboratory focuses on the biology of epithelia, the fundamental tissue of all animals and the major constituent of human organs. We study the molecules and mechanisms that govern epithelial polarity, cell shape, and tissue morphogenesis, seek to understand how epithelial organization promotes the proper control of organ growth, and use Drosophila cancer models as a simple system to understand how tumors actually kill their hosts.

Bilder Lab Website

David Schaffer

Our research program melds biology and engineering principles to investigate stem cells and therapeutic gene delivery, i.e. cell replacement and gene replacement approaches to treat human disease. We have developed novel directed evolution approaches to optimize the efficacy of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vehicles, other viruses, and their genetic cargoes. These approaches are also yielding novel, basic insights into virus-host interactions, and have entered into human clinical trials.

Schaffer Lab Website

Marla Feller

We are interested in the mechanisms that guide the assembly of neural circuits during development. We use the retinas as a model system, and we use two-photon imaging, electrophysiology and a variety of anatomical approaches to address two major questions. 

Feller Lab Website

Kunxin Luo

We are interested in the signal transduction pathways downstream of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFb) receptors and the role these pathways play in regulation of mammary epithelial cell differentiation and breast carcinogenesis. We wish to understand how TGFb induces a wide range of biological activities and identify components of the TGF beta receptor signaling pathways.

Luo Faculty Page

Gian Garriga

We are studying how asymmetric cell division, cell migration and axonal pathfinding contribute to the final form and connectivity of the Caenorhabditis elegans nervous system.

Garriga Lab

Iswar Hariharan

Our laboratory studies the mechanisms that regulate growth at both the cellular and organismal levels, as well as how the growth that occurs during development determines the eventual size and form of an organism. We are also interested in the mechanisms by which damaged tissue is replaced as a result of regenerative growth. To understand the way that growth is regulated in both of these situations, we conduct genetic studies in the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster, to identify genes that regulate growth, cell proliferation and cell death.

Hariharan Lab Website

David Weisblat

The goals of the research in our lab are twofold: first, to obtain as satisfying as possible an understanding of leech development; and second, to understand how developmental processes are modified during the evolution of different animal taxa.

Weisblat Lab Website

Richard Harland

The objective of our work is to understand early vertebrate development at the molecular level. We study this problem in both the amphibian Xenopus, and in the mouse. Xenopus embryos are large and easily manipulated, so that the function of various macromolecules, such as RNA and protein, can be assayed by microinjection into living embryos. Functional assays in Xenopus can then be complemented by genetic knockouts in the mouse, to gain fuller understanding of the normal requirements for gene action in the developing embryo.

Harland Lab Website