the community site for and by developmental biologists

On Growth and Form centenary conference

Posted by on August 15th, 2017

The full programme and booking information for the On Growth and Form 100 conference are now online at https://www.ongrowthandform.org/conference/ The three-day conference takes place in the University of Dundee and the University of St Andrews on 13-15 October and features speakers from around the world, exploring the many aspects and influences of D’Arcy Thompson’s landmark[…]

In Development this Week (Vol. 144, Issue 16)

Posted by on August 15th, 2017

Here are the highlights from the current issue of Development:   PLCζ ‘waves in’ mammalian oocyte activation At fertilisation, fusion of the sperm with the oocyte activates a slew of downstream processes to kick-start embryogenesis. This ‘oocyte activation’ event induces the cortical reaction to prevent polyspermy, triggers oocyte metabolic and DNA synthesis pathways, and reactivates meiosis. In[…]

Baby cichlids working out their jaws

Posted by on August 14th, 2017

I joined Dr. Craig Albertson’s lab as a graduate student in 2009, where I quickly became fascinated by these cute cichlid fishes. They’re colorful, they breed their young in the mouth, and some of them have funny looking faces like this blue mbuna (Labeotropheus fuelleborni):     My research started on the genetic control of[…]

Discovery Through Collaboration: Brain Lymphatic Endothelial Cells

Posted by on August 8th, 2017

Looking back on the journey: Intracellular uptake of macromolecules by brain lymphatic endothelial cells during zebrafish embryonic development eLife van Lessen et al., 2017   Just over two years ago, while I was a Masters of Neuroscience student at University College London, I became interested in the emerging concepts of brain lymphatics and sleep dependent macromolecule[…]

Making time matter: how hormone pulses direct chromatin accessibility during development

Posted by on August 8th, 2017

Each of our cells has the same genetic information and thus the same potential to become a part of a heart, brain, or a finger. Somehow though, during development our cells manage to figure out exactly which type of cell they should be and which body parts they should help compose. The key to making[…]

Workshop on HREM imaging and mouse phenotyping

Posted by on August 8th, 2017

Deciphering the Mechanisms of Developmental Disorders (DMDD) is a large-scale imaging and phenotyping  programme for genetically modified mouse embryos. For embryos at E14.5, the key imaging technique is High Resolution Episcopic Microscopy (HREM), and the resulting images are used to comprehensively phenotype the embryos using a systematic approach.     With a combination of lectures,[…]

Scales in scientific images

Posted by on August 6th, 2017

I recently saw drawings by Maria Sybilla Merian at Kupferstichkabinett Berlin and the University Library Dresden. Merian, who lived from 1647 to 1717, is renowned for her exceptional illustrations of biological specimens and gained recognition as a scientist for her nature observations, for example, of insect metamorphosis.     Merian evidently was genius in choosing[…]

Behind the scene of Embryology 2017: not just about the science

Posted by on August 3rd, 2017

Blog post written by Isabelle Vea – 2017 Embryology Student   All 24 of the 2017 Embryology students came to Woods Hole to learn from the best scientists in the developmental biology field. We were immersed in a unique setting to interact with established and promising investigators. In general, each invited lecturer came and spent from[…]

An interview with Jim Smith

Posted by on August 3rd, 2017

To interview Jim Smith I took a train to London and visited the Francis Crick Institute for the first time. The building had opened in 2016 and, by the time I visited, most if not all of the labs had settled in. Architecturally it was quite stunning, especially looking down from one of the higher[…]

Reactions to the CRISPR human embryo paper

Posted by on August 3rd, 2017

A paper published online yesterday in Nature (and ‘leaked’ a week ago by the MIT Technology Review) describes the use of CRISPR in human embryos to correct a mutation that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The work has hit the headlines and sparked debate about its utility and implications. Collated below are responses from the field (or[…]