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How mechanical signals orchestrate stem cell fate

Posted by on August 23rd, 2016

Controlling differentiation using biophysical cues from development Embryonic stem cells have the potential to become any cell type in the adult organism, but coaxing them to a specific fate continues to be a challenge for researchers. While many of the soluble signals involved in patterning the early embryo are well-established, only recently have tools been[…]

Forgotten Classics: Tracing the heart

Posted by on August 17th, 2016

de la Cruz, M.V., Sánchez-Gómez, C. & Palomino, M.A. (1989) The primitive cardiac regions in the straight tube heart (Stage 9–) and their anatomical expression in the mature heart: an experimental study in the chick embryo. Journal of Anatomy 165: 121-131. Recommended by Benoit Bruneau, Gladstone Institute for Cardiovascular Disease   Two previous posts in[…]

FaceBase: An online resource for craniofacial research

Posted by on August 16th, 2016

In 2009, FaceBase was launched in response to the need for more comprehensive analysis of craniofacial development: with so much craniofacial data being generated, there is a danger of relevant datasets being buried in the avalanche of genomic and other data. FaceBase is a curated, one-stop shop for facial development and research offering the community input and[…]

A new role of an insect steroid hormone: The link between mating and germline stem cells

Posted by on August 11th, 2016

Tomotsune Ameku, Ryusuke Niwa’s lab, University of Tsukuba, Japan.   Steroid hormones have crucial roles in regulating a broad range of biological processes in most multicellular organisms. They are produced in specialized endocrine organs and act as ligands for the nuclear receptor family of transcription factors. In mammals, sex steroid hormones, such as estrogen and[…]

How many and which genes for multicellularity?

Posted by on August 9th, 2016

My research interest is the evolution of multicellularity. How did cells ‘learn’ to communicate with each other to build a structure that is more complex than its parts and shows new emergent behaviour? Which and how many new genes would be required to transform a unicellular ancestor into a well-organised multicellular structure? The Nature Communications[…]

Postdoctoral position in craniofacial development and signaling, Mt Sinai (New York City)

Posted by on August 3rd, 2016

A postdoctoral position is available in the laboratory of Philippe Soriano to study cell signaling mechanisms underlying craniofacial development regulated by FGFs and PDGFs in the mouse embryo. Creative, interactive but independent, and highly motivated applicants are in particular invited to apply. Qualifications include a strong background in developmental biology, cell signaling, expertise in molecular/cell biology,[…]

MBL Embryology Course 2016

Posted by on August 1st, 2016

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” L. Carroll ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’   We write this while we finish the last experiments for the final Show n’ Tell on[…]

How fish grew limbs and moved onto land

Posted by on July 25th, 2016

Fin to limb transition was a crucial evolutionary adaptation necessary for the vertebrate land invasion in the late Devonian around 400 MY ago. Without this key event, I would not be writing this blog, we as a species would definitely not exist, and neither would any other tetrapod. While the gross morphological changes for this process are fairly well understood,[…]

From our sister journals – July 2016

Posted by on July 25th, 2016

Here we highlight some developmental biology related content from other journals published by The Company of Biologists.         Aging zebrafish an ideal model Mice have been the traditional model of choice for investigating telomere shortening in aging, but zebrafish provide an upcoming complementary system with well-conserved physiology. Ferreira and colleagues discuss how fishes have helped our understanding of[…]

The dynamics of chromatin when life begins

Posted by on July 20th, 2016

Fertilization marks the start of life. This is followed by highly coordinated epigenetic reprogramming that allows protamine-histone exchange, zygotic genome activation, and the generation of a totipotent embryo. However, the true state of chromatin at the level of DNA during this crucial period is a long-standing mystery.   Our lab is dedicated to understanding epigenetic reprogramming[…]